Industry Sides With Facebook In Yahoo Patent Brawl

Yahoo's decision to file a patent-infringement lawsuit against Facebook is not a popular one among the Internet and technology sectors.

Yahoo’s decision to file a patent-infringement lawsuit against Facebook is not a popular one among the Internet and technology sectors.

Facebook fired back yesterday with 10 patent-infringement accusations of its own against Yahoo, and the social network seems to be winning the popular vote, as well, if these quotes collected by CNET’s Geek Gestalt blog are any indication:

Yammer Chief Executive Officer David Sacks:

Definitely Facebook. Yahoo is the aggressor. Its lawsuit is highly opportunistic. It’s basically a shakedown on the eve of Facebook’s initial public offering, and they’re acting the same way a patent troll would. Yahoo would probably be better-served if it shut down all of its operations and became a patent troll.

Reading between the lines of Facebook’s statement, it’s obvious that it feels that it would be better that both sides drop their suits, and that it would rather not be in this position.

SoftTech VC Managing Partner Jeff Clavier:

Yahoo used to be an iconic company that contributed to key building blocks of the Internet as we know it. A decade later, and after years of management and identity crisis, it’s turning into a patent troll. That is so sad.

Hunch Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer and Founder Collective Co-Founder Chris Dixon:

I think Facebook made the right move by filing a lawsuit against Yahoo’s patent attack. Facebook had just four moves to play on this particular chess board: Settle; defend without countersuing; countersue without signaling any aversion to patent lawsuits; and countersue and signal that they are averse to patent lawsuits, which, in turn, signals that it will drop the lawsuit if Yahoo does. This seems to be what Facebook has done.

Y Combinator Founder Paul Graham:

The Valley and the hacker community generally seem to be on Facebook’s side. I’m impressed that Facebook is fighting back instead of settling to make the IPO easier, as companies so often do, and as Yahoo probably expected it to. It shows how confident Facebook is about its IPO. Yahoo has clumsily picked a fight with an opponent that is a lot fiercer than it realized.

Union Square Ventures Managing Partner Fred Wilson:

Yahoo thinks it can bully Internet newcomers with its bogus patents. The company foolishly crossed a line, because other companies have bogus patents, too. And it opened itself up to be sued back. Frankly I’d like to see it happen just to show them how stupid they are…I used to care about that company for some reason. No more. They are dead to me. Dead and gone. I hate them now.

Readers: Which side are you on in the Facebook-Yahoo patent dispute?

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