Yahoo: 16 More Patents ‘May Be Relevant’ To Facebook Lawsuit

By David Cohen 

The fifth amendment to Facebook’s initial public offering filing contained a warning that Yahoo found 16 more patents that “may be relevant” to the patent-infringement lawsuit it filed against Facebook in March.

ZDNet’s Friending Facebook blog obtained a letter from Yahoo to Facebook (embedded below), which included the following paragraph:

Based on publicly available information, we believe that Yahoo’s proprietary server technology may be relevant to Facebook’s data centers and their servers. Such technology is described and claimed in, among others, United States Patents Nos.: 6,209,003, 6,279,001, 6,314,463, 6,317,786, 6,912,534, 6,976,093, 6,993,590, 7,035,943, 7,143,193, 7,243,136, 7,356,589, 7,581,006, 7,957,142, 7,430,118, 7,672,128, and 8,108,347.

Facebook addressed the issue in revision No. 5 to its S-1 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission:

Yahoo could in the future assert additional patent or other claims against us in this or in other proceedings. For example, we received a letter dated April 23, 2012, from Yahoo indicating that they believe 16 patents they claim to hold “may be relevant” to open-source technology they allege is being used in our data centers and servers. Yahoo has not threatened or initiated litigation with respect to matters described in this letter, but it may do so in the future.

And a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement to Friending Facebook:

Yahoo’s letter takes aim not just at Facebook, but at open-source and energy-efficient green technologies developed and employed by countless innovative, forward-thinking companies and engineers. We’re defending vigorously against Yahoo’s current lawsuit, and would likewise do so against any new assertions.

Yahoo filed its patent-infringement lawsuit against Facebook in March, and Facebook followed with a counterclaim last month, denying that it had infringed on the 10 patents originally included in Yahoo’s suit, as well as citing 10 patents of its own that it claimed were violated by Yahoo.

In a court filing last week, Yahoo denied that it was infringing on any Facebook patents, and it added two more Yahoo patents to the lawsuit, along with accusing Facebook of breaking an agreement that the two companies would notify each other of possible patent infringements before going to court.

Readers: Do you see any chance for a quick resolution of the conflict between Yahoo and Facebook, or should the two companies prepare for a long battle?

April 23 2012 Ltr to S O’Rourke