Yahoo sues Facebook in first social media patent case

Adversaries: Yahoo to sue Facebook over alleged patent infringements
Adversaries: Yahoo to sue Facebook over alleged patent infringements

Yahoo is suing Facebook over alleged infringement of 10 of its patents, moving the patent wars into the realms of social media.

The intellectual property lawsuit was filed in a California yesterday (12 March). The patents in question related to methods and systems for advertising and payments on the web.

Until now, the "patent wars" have largely been related to hardware companies such as Apple, Motorola and Samsung.

However, they are now being fought on multiple fronts and, at the end of last year, BT announced it was suing Google over claims it had infringed copyright on several BT products.

The lawsuit comes at a sensitive time for Facebook as it prepares to go public in what is expected to be the largest internet IPO in history.

Yahoo declined to comment, but a Facebook spokeswoman said: "We're disappointed that Yahoo, a long-time business partner of Facebook and a company that has substantially benefited from its association with Facebook, has decided to resort to litigation. 

Alluding to previous reports that Yahoo was preparing to sue, the spokeswoman said: "Once again, we learned of Yahoo's decision simultaneously with the media. We will defend ourselves vigorously against these puzzling actions."

Yahoo and Facebook have worked in partnership in the past, and in the recent Marketing Interview, Robert Bridge, director and head of marketing for Yahoo  EMEA, talked up this relationship, prior to the news hitting the headlines.

A report by Reuters claimed the move could be due to Yahoo trying to boost its acquisition value.

It is the first major move by newly installed Yahoo chief executive Scott Thompson.

Reports claim that Thomspon is to announce a major restructure at the end of this month.

See this week's Marketing magazine for an analysis on the ongoing patent wars.

Follow Sarah Shearman on Twitter: @Shearmans


Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now


Lynx tells men not to leave love to fate
HBO captures awkwardness of watching sex scenes with parents
Primark to open first US stores with Boston chosen as flagship location
Marketing spend on the up but a reality check is needed before celebrating
Top 10 ads of the week: Jackpotjoy and BT Broadband fend off Kevin Bacon
Lidl beats Tesco to 10m Facebook fans
Center Parcs ad banned for encouraging parents to take kids out of school
Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Amazon named top brands for targeting youth market
Leaked document shows Nokia to be rebranded as Microsoft Mobile
Nike lays-off hardware staff in move that casts doubt on future of FuelBand
Greenpeace says save the bees or humans will die
What brands need to know about changes to VAT and online downloads in 2015
Jimmy Savile victims urged to claim compensation in new ad campaign
UKIP launches biggest  ad campaign and stirs up 'racist' accusations
Apple boss Tim Cook provides voiceover on ad touting firm's renewed green commitments
John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers
Ex-M&S marketing chief Steven Sharp consulting at WPP
Wolff Olins reveals new CEO after Apple poaches Karl Heiselman
Glasgow offers £30,000 prize to best digital idea for 2014 Commonwealth Games
Google's revenues surge but shares drop as it grapples with transition to mobile
Facebook beats Twitter to most 'marketing friendly' social media site crown, says DMA
Fableists believe children like Finn should be outdoors enjoying life
Homebase, Baileys and Camelot join the line-up at Media360
MasterCard renews Rugby World Cup sponsorship to push cashless message