Yahoo Says Facebook's Countersuit Doesn't Count Since Facebook Bought Its Patents
from the um-what? dept
Yahoo has now responded to Facebook’s patent countersuit, as the stupid and destructive nuclear war that Yahoo launched against Facebook out of spite and jealousy continues to expand. As you probably know by now, the incredibly desperate Yahoo sued Facebook (as it was laying off 2,000 employees), because it has no clue how to innovate any more, and decided the best course of action was to broadcast as loudly as possible to good software developers that they should work elsewhere (at least that seems to be the general interpretation of Yahoo’s actions here in Silicon Valley). In response, Facebook hit back with a countersuit, claiming that Yahoo violated some of Facebook’s patents.
As we noted at the time, most of the patents that Facebook was using in the counterclaims did not originate with Facebook, but were bought. Yahoo’s response to Facebook’s claims tries to make a big deal out of this, arguing that using such patents is not in “good faith.”
In retaliation for Yahoo!’s good faith allegations of patent infringement, Facebook alleges infringement of ten patents as counterclaims. However, on information and belief, Facebook lacks a good faith basis for most, if not all, of its counterclaims, particularly those patents that it purchased from others.
Facebook purchased eight patents from non-practicing entities: two patents were purchased from “IPG Electronics 503 Limited,” a San Diego-based patent aggregator; two patents were purchased from “Cheah Intellectual Property Licensing,” a California-based patent holding company; one patent was purchased from “Right Point LLC,” a Texas-based patent aggregator; and three patents were purchased from New York University’s intellectual property licensing department. All eight of these patents were purchased by Facebook in the past five months, and several of these patents were purchased (independent of any separate technology acquisition or merger) after Yahoo! filed its complaint in this action. On information and belief, many, if not all, of these patents were acquired by Facebook for purposes of retaliation against Yahoo! in this case.
No employee or officer of Facebook or any affiliated company conceived of, reduced to practice, or developed the alleged inventions claimed in the eight patents acquired from non-practicing entities. In fact, the applications for many of these patents predate Facebook itself.
While all of those do highlight just how silly some of our patent system is, I have no idea what it has to do with the law. There’s nothing in the law that says it’s not in “good faith” to buy patents to assert against others. Though, amusingly, perhaps if Yahoo! wins this argument it could set a bizarre precedent that limits the usefulness of purchased patents — but I can’t see that happening.
Yahoo!’s argument is full of similarly bizarre assertions. For example, Yahoo! seems to have its feelings hurt that Facebook didn’t contact Yahoo! before filing the counterclaims. While I can understand how it’s obnoxious to use before reaching out under normal circumstances, Yahoo! seems to ignore that Yahoo! sued Facebook first. Then it gets upset that Facebook doesn’t want to be all friendly? Really?!?
Yahoo! also claims that the parts of its business that Facebook thinks infringes are areas where the details are secret, so the only way that Facebook would know that Yahoo! infringed is if it “unlawfully acquired Yahoo! confidential business information.” Because of this, Yahoo! actually goes so far as to ask for sanctions against Facebook’s lawyers, which is a pretty extreme move in a case like this.
Yahoo! also goes into great detail to raise some procedural questions about the granting of some of the patents that Facebook is using in counterclaims. In other words, it’s trying to find absolutely anything to hit back with.
Suffice it to say there is no love lost between these two companies at this point.
Oh yeah, just for fun, Yahoo! adds two more patent infringement claims of its own back at Facebook:
- US patent 7,933,903: System and method to determine the validity of and interaction on a network
- US patent 7,698,315: System and method allowing advertisers to manage search listings in a pay for placement search system using grouping
What isn’t explained in the filing? How any of this actually helps make Yahoo! relevant again.