Battle Internet: Yahoo vs. Facebook

fightThere’s a patent war looming among us, people. According to a recent Reuters article, Yahoo is claiming that parts of Facebook’s operation are already patented under the search engine’s name. Yahoo is claiming that some of the technologies that Facebook is using for its ads, privacy control, news feed, and messaging service belong to the search engine, and it’s demanding licensing fees.

But even though the two Internet giants have long worked together (launching a Facebook feature last year that lets you see what Yahoo news your friends are reading), Yahoo didn’t contact Facebook about the situation until the same day that they got a hold of The New York Times to tell them about it.

Hmm…

In an email the search engine said, “Yahoo has a responsibility to its shareholders, employees and other stakeholders to protect its intellectual property.”

Maybe, but what’s interesting is that when representatives from both companies met on Monday, the discussion wasn’t about money, it was just about “Yahoo’s” 10-20 patents… which they haven’t listed. What’s even more interesting is that Yahoo waited until now, right before Facebook’s IPO, to target them – which sounds very similar to what happened to Google in 2004. Google was forced to give Yahoo 2.7 million shares of stock right before its IPO because of a patent dispute.

When you take this fun fact into consideration, it (of course) sparks controversy. Some people believe that Yahoo is intimidated by Facebook and is stooping to selfish level, while others believe that Yahoo worked hard for what it patented and should have its rights.

So what do you think? Is this a slimy scheme or a legit legal move?

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