Skip to main content

Yahoo Lawyers Didn't Perform Well Enough In Facebook Case Says Blogger

Days after Yahoo was once again forced to bid adieu to one of its CEOs, the company has apparently made a bit of a blunder in its patent battle against Facebook.

As detailed by patent blogger Florian Mueller, Facebook recently handed Yahoo an embarrassing legal smackdown. Yahoo accused the social network of not providing the U.S. Patent Office with a required sworn declaration related to two of Facebook's 10 patents. This, Yahoo argued, made those patents unenforceable, but the Internet firm apparently did not have its facts straight.

"The fact of the matter is that this declaration was provided, and it had been in the record all the time - Yahoo's lawyers alleged deception when they simply failed to do their job," Mueller wrote in a blog post. "Facebook obtained the record and provided it to the court, and in the process found out that nobody had even accessed (!) the record before."

The two patents in question cover a "system for controlled distribution of user profiles over a network" as well as a "method and system for controlled distribution of contact information over a network." Facebook acquired both patents in February.

Yahoo tried to catch Facebook on a technicality. The firm said Facebook engaged in "intentional deception" by failing to include the name of a second patent inventor in all of its applications, as required by the Patent Office. "But Facebook has now shown that this declaration had been in the record all the time," Mueller wrote.

Facebook has now asked the court to drop Yahoo's inequitable conduct claim. Yahoo did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A Facebook spokesman said the company had no comment beyond the court filings.

The case kicked off in March, when Yahoo filed suit against Facebook over patents related to its ad network, privacy, customization, messaging, and social networking as a whole. Facebook filed a countersuit against Yahoo the next month for infringing on 10 Facebook-owned patents. In response, Yahoo argued that the social network's counterclaim was retaliatory and based on information to which Facebook couldn't possible have access.

Published under license from Ziff Davis, Inc., New York, All rights reserved. Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc.