Patent Wars: Yahoo Claims Facebook Is Infringing

A blog about business and economics.
Feb. 28 2012 8:01 AM

Patent Wars: Yahoo Claims Facebook Is Infringing

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Yahoo! headquarters.

Wikimedia Commons

Yahoo, desperately in need of new revenue models, has hit upon the patent litigation stratgy and is now alleging that deep-pocketed Facebook is infringing 10-20 Yahoo patents including things that cover "the technical mechanisms in the Facebook's ads, privacy controls, news feed and messaging service."

As Tim Lee wrote for Slate on Monday, it's important to understand that these infringement suits don't need to claim deliberate copying and, indeed, generally don't allege any such thing. And because of the logistics involved "most software firms don't even try to avoid infringement." But when a firm gets as big and successful as Facebook that makes it a ripe target for litigation over issues the company probably ignored back when it was busy building its product and its business.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.