Facebook has filed a coutersuit against Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO" href="http://www.google.com/finance?q=NASDAQ%3AYHOO" target="_blank" rel="nofollow" >NASDAQ:YAHOO) today in what could be the second shot in a patent war between the two companies. Yahoo filed a suit against Facebook two months ago claiming the social network had infringed on ten of its patents.
Today’s suit by Facebook brought ten of its own claims against Yahoo which it said infringed upon its intellectual property. Facebook said when it was sued originally, that it would fight back with all it had and it has. The intellectual property on both sides are essentially ludicrous outside of a court room.
Facebook is suing for things like content optimization and advertising throughout its service while Yahoo’s suit indicted Facebook for a system for the optimum placement of web advertisements and world modelling using a communications network.
Facebook’s counter suit is projected to halt Yahoo’s ridiculous ploy and bring proceedings to a halt probably ending in a settlement. The attack by Yahoo garnered much ire from commentators in the tech industry who saw it as the flailing search engine lashing out in desperation.
The news is just another chapter in the so called patent wars which are raging between the major tech companies among each other and with “patent trolls” businesses or individuals who buy and file patents in order to file lawsuits with companies in the hope they’ll be settled. Legal battles being fought all over the world are manifestations in this giant futile war between tech companies and its costing the whole industry a great deal of money. Google’s acquisition of Motorola last years was presented by some as a defensive move against legal moves on its android platform. Apart from massive acquisitions the costs of the legal battles and settlements as well as having products removed from stores is frightening. Apple is currently fighting in China over its use of the iPad name apparently used by another product there before the iPad’s release. At the same time Apple has Samsung’s Galaxy Tab removed from stores in most of Europe last year over apparent design similarities.
The ongoing hijinks don’t seem to be benefitting any of the company’s and seem to be harming some of them, spending valuable resources on trivial IP infringements and having products removed from the shelves. However because of the escalating nature of the patent wars it seems they will continue until some other form of corporate obstacle becomes more fashionable in the tech industry.