Does Yahoo! Cross The Line In Facebook Lawsuit?
Yahoo is suing Facebook over 10 patents just as the social networking company is preparing to become a publicly traded company, a particularly vulnerable time for a business. Facebook reportedly called the legal action "puzzling."
As AllThingsD reports, it has echoes of a suit Yahoo! brought against mega-competitor Google in 2002.
As entrepreneur and blogger Brad Feld notes on Business Insider, the patent issue has the "same polarizing dynamic" as SOPA/PIPA, the now-mordent twin bills that were aimed at stopping illegal file sharing.
For a taste of that dynamic, here's a chunk of analysis from Wired's Andy Baio:
I’m no fan of Facebook, but this is a deplorable move. It’s nothing less than extortion, expertly timed during the SEC-mandated quiet period before Facebook’s IPO. It’s an attack on invention and the hacker ethic.
Upping the ante, prominent venture capital blogger Fred Wilson furiously calls the patents a "crock of shit":
But worse, Yahoo! has broken ranks and crossed the unspoken line which is that web companies don't sue each other over their bogus patent portfolios. I don't think there's a unique idea out there in the web space and hasn't been for well over a decade. Pretty much everything useful is based on prior art going back before the commercial web existed.