Yahoo wants to force Facebook to license 10 to 20 patents for different technologies that include advertising, social networking, messaging and website customization. Facebook would either pay licensing fees or risks a lawsuit, according to undisclosed sources.
“Yahoo has a responsibility to its shareholders, employees and other stakeholders to protect its intellectual property. We must insist that Facebook either enter into a licensing agreement or we will be compelled to move forward unilaterally to protect our rights,” says an Yahoo official quoted by Search Engine Watch.
These patents that Yahoo believes Facebook is using in its advertising systems are not the first to be potentially included in a lawsuit. Let’s not forget that Google paid some big bucks ($12.5 billion to be more exact) for Motorola Mobility last year. Apple, Samsung and Microsoft are other big names involved in patent payments for different technologies.
Patents are almost everywhere, we could say, and as you probably know there are 10 physical gestures that have been patented, and these gestures are really common, like a patent owned by Apple for sliding your finger over a touch screen to unlock a device, or like the patent owned by Samsung: the use of gestures to move icons around on your phone.
This potential lawsuit against Facebook brings up another issue, that of Yahoo gaining some shares in Facebook, as the social media giant’s IPO is fast approaching.
There isn’t yet an official reaction from Facebook regarding this matter. Representatives of the company say that they were contacted by Yahoo at the same time as the The New York Times was contacted with news of the lawsuit threat, therefore they didn’t have enough time to analyze the claims. Time will tell – but we could assume there will be no lawsuit but an agreement of some sort, as a legal dispute would not help any of the companies involved.