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Yahoo's Own Lash Out At Company Over "Weaponized" Patents

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the any-tool-in-the-box dept.

Patents 89

Velcroman1 writes "Yahoo is suing Facebook for patent infringement — and the people responsible for Yahoo's patents are outraged. Andy Baio sold Upcoming.org to Yahoo in 2005 for an undisclosed sum, and agreed at the time to help the company file for patents based on the site he had invented and the code he had written. Baio was hesitant to do so, but told Wired.com that he thought he was helping as a precautionary measure. 'I thought I was giving them a shield,' Baio said. 'It turns out I gave them a missile with my name permanently engraved on it.' He helped Yahoo file for eight patents, four of which were later granted. And while none were cited in the Yahoo complaint, Baio said a handful were now 'weaponized to use against people like me.'" bdking points out that Mark Cuban is sick of the patent fiasco as well but his approach is slightly different. "He's rooting for Yahoo to 'destroy' Facebook in its patent lawsuit. Why? Because if Yahoo collects, say, $50 billion from Facebook and forces the social networking company out of business, consumers will revolt and demand patent reform."

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But you still cashed the check, right? (-1, Troll)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#39357737)

Andy Baio sold Upcoming.org to Yahoo in 2005 for an undisclosed sum, and agreed at the time to help the company file for patents based on the site he had invented and the code he had written.

If you feel so strongly about it, feel free to give all that money to a charity, Mr. Morality.

Oh, what's that you say? Oh, you want to KEEP all the money but still bitch? I guess that makes you the hero who cashed that check but didn't really WANT to, man.

Reminds me of the guy who gets caught hacking, turns in all his hacking buddies for a reduced sentence, and then tells them afterwards "Oh, I didn't know they were going to use my testimony *against* you guys."

Re:But you still cashed the check, right? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39357763)

First Reply...

Re:But you still cashed the check, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39357815)

Please RTFA and make an informed response. Oh wait, this is /.

Re:But you still cashed the check, right? (4, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39357887)

(shrug). People make mistakes in life, and then later regret their actions. I'm not going to get all incensed at Andy Baio.

Re:But you still cashed the check, right? (3, Informative)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39357909)

From TFA:

But Yahoo assured us that their patent portfolio was a precautionary measure, to defend against patent trolls and others who might try to attack Yahoo with their own holdings.

Assuming he is telling the truth, it is absolutely nothing like your comparison at all.

Tell it to Alfred Nobel (3, Interesting)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 2 years ago | (#39358175)

Inventor of Dynamite and the conscience easing Nobel Peace prize. Virtually every weapon is built upon something invented for peace. Forged metal works for plowshares and well as swords. You can't expect a promise like "do no evil" to assure that the future fate of developments made under that banner won't turn evil when sold. Dynamite was revolutionary to safe mining. And at the time it was thought might even end war since the prospect was so terrifying.

But I think the real prize here is neither of the options. that is to say Yahoo won't land a killer blow. All it needs to do is win even a token amount.

Then they can sell this "technology" to Google+. This will allow Google+ to be indemnified as it encroaches on Facebook, and also for google to shut out other competitors from apple or amazon that crop up.

Tat outcome would be good in the sense it would provide competition for Facebook. THat's good for everyone. But it's bad from a general competition point of view

Mark Cuban: still clueless (5, Insightful)

billcopc (196330) | more than 2 years ago | (#39357787)

Destroying Facebook will not result in a "consumer revolt". The users will hop on the next big thing. They might go on G+, where they will incessantly upvote each others "Fuck Yahoo I miss Facebook" posts, without actually doing anything about it.

Social media is dangerous in that respect, because it encourages people to talk about doing right, in order to get recognition from their "friends", without actually following through. Everyone suddenly thinks they're an activist because they shared some viral pic.

Re:Mark Cuban: still clueless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39357853)

And you square your beliefs with the SOPA/PIPA backlash... how?

Re:Mark Cuban: still clueless (3, Interesting)

jesseck (942036) | more than 2 years ago | (#39357929)

And you square your beliefs with the SOPA/PIPA backlash... how?

SOPA/PIPA may have never meant to be passed to begin with... if you give the Government an inch, it will take a mile. In that respect, they attempted to take a mile- and the outrage allowed them to take 100 yards instead. They'll come up with another tool, worse than SOPA/PIPA, and use that to grab more power.

Re:Mark Cuban: still clueless (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39358021)

This is the danger of declaring compromise to be a virtue. Naive compromisers always lose, and whatever cunning compromiser owns (by any/all definitions) the newspaper usually wins.

Compromise is a tactic, not a virtue.

Re:Mark Cuban: still clueless (1)

bzipitidoo (647217) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359387)

s/Government/business interests/

FTFY

Re:Mark Cuban: still clueless (1)

nickdc (1444247) | more than 2 years ago | (#39357943)

I agree people don't act as much as we want them to. The thing is that enough people will do something about it to be heard if given motivation from companies they depend on everyday.

Lets take a look at SOPA / PIPA. Because enough people actually contacted their senators and got media attention, legislators thought twice about their stance.

The real question is would FB alone be enough to get people to act and get the media coverage they need to influence the legislators? IMO it's doubtful unless something dramatic happened like a service interruption...

Re:Mark Cuban: still clueless (3, Insightful)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 2 years ago | (#39358127)

Mark Cuban is a moron, and always has been. His major claim to fame is that he found an even bigger moron at Yahoo to pay $6B for Broadcast.com. If Yahoo hadn't given him all of that for no results they might not have had to start patent trolling to survive...

Re:Mark Cuban: still clueless (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359255)

He may be a moron, but he's entertaining as hell on "Shark Tank".

Re:Mark Cuban: still clueless (2)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359593)

Actually, moron is a bit harsh. He was smart enough to talk someone out of $6B and then hold onto it once it fell in his lap. And even better, he was smart enough to sell all of his Yahoo stock immediately because he knew what a pile of crap he had sold them. Ok, maybe he wasn't a moron at all, just a guy who is much better at getting people to give him money than building anything useful.

I should have said "one lucky bastard". And as usual, it's better to be lucky than good...

Re:Mark Cuban: still clueless (2)

WaywardGeek (1480513) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359483)

I've been told that many patents are rejected, but 4 out of 8 sounds pretty poor. I'm 22 of 22, even though some prior art I found made me try to retract one, but the patent officer found a narrow interpretation that let it stand in a limited form. All mine have been used defensively. It turns out that you either have to have no viable business, or a ton of cash you're just itching to burn to start patent wars. The rest of us live in fear of being sued by someone with either no money and a bunch of lawyers, or a huge war chest. Either way, we're screwed.

Most of my patents are software patents, which I continue to firmly believe should be illegal. We should not be able to patent mathematical algorithms or any stupid list of steps which can be executed by a computer. Yahoo, Google, Motorola, Apple, Samsung, HTC, and several other huge companies have decided to burn all their money in a pointless effort to hold back innovation. If ever their was a time to say "I told you so" over software patents, this is it.

Re:Mark Cuban: still clueless (2)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39358135)

In democracy, a large number of social media supporters worth more than a handful of fanatics.

Re:Mark Cuban: still clueless (1)

NIN1385 (760712) | more than 2 years ago | (#39358185)

What you just described is one of the many reasons I detest facebook.

So much so that I refuse to capitalize it's name.

Re:Mark Cuban: still clueless (0)

ndogg (158021) | more than 2 years ago | (#39358783)

KONY 2012

Re:Mark Cuban: still clueless (1)

ndogg (158021) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359977)

Oh, sorry, I forgot the closing tag. /sarcasm

Re:Mark Cuban: still clueless (1)

Asic Eng (193332) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359045)

Yahoo will not destroy Facebook. They wouldn't do that even if their patents would be found to be valid - instead they would extort some money from Facebook. They may not be the sharpest knifes in the drawer, but they aren't completely stupid either - destroying Facebook doesn't generate income. Chances are this wouldn't affect the users in the least. What does a Facebook user care where the advertising money is paid to, and who owns how many shares in the company?

I also wouldn't affect Yahoo much, because they'd still be a company which doesn't earn money and has no vision of the future. It would just delay the inevitable for a bit.

Re:Mark Cuban: still clueless (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39359217)

And awarding $50bn in damages against Facebook won't "destroy" anything, it'll just mean Yahoo! will own Facebook.

As far as the users are concerned, nothing will change. Well, except maybe a new button or two will start to appear.

Re:Mark Cuban: still clueless (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 2 years ago | (#39367517)

Well now, I posit that if Yahoo were to inherit Facebook, they would fold in a millisecond. Top brass would cash out, the remaining suckers would continue Yahooing everything into mediocrity, and Fuckerberg would just start all over again.

This is why we can't have anything nice. (3, Informative)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#39357799)

That is all.

Re:This is why we can't have anything nice. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39357843)

This implies that Facebook is a nice thing.

Re:This is why we can't have anything nice. (2)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#39358091)

No, this impacts all patent scenarios - to some extent, all software patents are becoming "weaponized".

Is this a trend? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39357813)

High profile employees bashing their own employers over company ethics and purpose - Google, Goldman Sachs, Yahoo, all just today.

Re:Is this a trend? (1)

jc42 (318812) | more than 2 years ago | (#39358383)

Is this a trend? High profile employees bashing their own employers over company ethics and purpose ...

We can only hope.

We read far too much here from the "Governments are always evil; corporations are always pure and good" crowd. In reality, since they're both run by humans, they tend to have roughly the same amounts of good and evil. And if either is allowed secrecy, the good part has a real disadvantage.

Re:Is this a trend? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39360311)

The systems are broken. And I'm not talking about Government. Corporate culture, especially anything market related, has been broken for a decade. There's the illusion that Tech. is somewhat immune from such idiocy, but I'd argue it's more prone to it. Over the past 15 years, how many IT firms have been bought up, burnt out, or stagnant w/ some small product.

The only real monsters that seem to be immune, are GE and IBM. Perhaps it's their longevity, but I'd like to think it's that their management knows the pitfalls of running large companies in a rapidly changing world, regardless of the sector.

Sheeple don't revolt (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39357851)

People don't even revolt when stimulus helps unions and banks and congressional pork rather than real people.

People don't even revolt when gasoline and food prices go up, double, largely because of currency destruction which is a Presidential choice due to budget choices.

People don't even revolt when police set up random checkpoints on highways, airports, train stations, and their own front yard.

People are not going to revolt if Facebook stock gets crushed due to an outsized Patent award. It will simply mean Yahoo owns 50% of Facebook. The site will continue to function uninterrupted. It worked just fine with $40m so it will; work better with $5000m.

JJ

Re:Sheeple don't revolt (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39357901)

sheeple

This word is used exclusively by those it describes most accurately.

Re:Sheeple don't revolt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39358339)

you don't believe that large groups of incurious people simply follow the lead in politics, culture, business, etc? How else might you describe broad demographics of people that, by shear ignorance, act against their own self interest? Participate in things their critical faculties would otherwise reject? Do you reject the concept or the word? There seems to be ample evidence to support the idea that ignorant group is beneficial to groups throughout primate evolution. Do you dispute this evidence? Can you provide any evidence that progenitors of this term are subject to the groupthink or mindless tribalism that they criticize? Moreso than that they criticize? You've made what superficially appears to be the more extraordinary claim, time to back it up. My rational examination of your critique leads me to conclude you dislike a word (or more ironically, views expressed by similar people outside your tribe) but needed to invent a acceptable reason. Fail ^ 4.

Re:Sheeple don't revolt (4, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 2 years ago | (#39358431)

I don't know if I would make the same argument as your parent, but I know I stop reading when posters start talking about sheeple. Invariably, the post contains two things:
* an unsupported statement that large swathes of the population are being actively mislead by a minority cabal whose goal is to destroy said swathes of the population
* indignation that no else one sees the dangers in following said cabal, and that everything would be better if the swathes of population would follow the opinion of the poster.

Finally, those posts also reek of internet tough guys: tough talk about how bad something is, about how bad something will get if nothing is done, and about how people should follow them in revolt. But there is never any action that is demonstrated.

In other words, when I see the word sheeple, I see someone who talks a big game, but does nothing. And I just move on.

Re:Sheeple don't revolt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39358955)

Blinded by the word sheeple, in a headline, not even the post itself, all statements have been roundly disregarded by sheeple-word-blinded-registered-slashdotters-in a vocal-uber-minority. :)

Anonymous Bastard

The post sounded a bit libertarian to me.

Sheep and profitability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39359035)

It's much more profitable to fleece the sheep than exterminate them.

Re:Sheeple don't revolt (1)

jasenj1 (575309) | more than 2 years ago | (#39360713)

I voted for Ron Paul.

soap, ballot, ammo. Boxes to be used in that order.

Re:Sheeple don't revolt (2)

firefrei (2569069) | more than 2 years ago | (#39361445)

soap, ballot, ammo. Boxes to be used in that order.

At which point you'll be gunned down by the Government's far superiorly trained/armed army. Good work.

Re:Sheeple don't revolt (1)

Velcroman1 (1667895) | more than 2 years ago | (#39358849)

you sir are a dick

And (1)

shiftless (410350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39367445)

This rebuttal is used by morons who can't think

Re:Sheeple don't revolt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39358287)

You are wrong, the Sheeple are coming! [youtube.com]

Re:Sheeple don't revolt (2)

b1scuit (795301) | more than 2 years ago | (#39361765)

WAKE UP SHEEPLE! [xkcd.com]

Well... (4, Insightful)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | more than 2 years ago | (#39357859)

Because if Yahoo collects, say, $50 billion from Facebook and forces the social networking company out of business, consumers will revolt and demand patent reform.

As awesome as this fantasy scenario that takes out 2 birds with one stone sounds, lets be honest, it's just that. A fantasy.
Facebook isn't going to crumble any time soon, unfortunately.

Re:Well... (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39357889)

If Facebook feels that threatened, it can just buy Yahoo. What's the value now, $1.25, or is that including a cheeseburger?

Re:Well... (2)

schlesinm (934723) | more than 2 years ago | (#39357971)

If Facebook feels that threatened, it can just buy Yahoo. What's the value now, $1.25, or is that including a cheeseburger?

I'm sure Google would just sit by and let Facebook buy Yahoo.

Re:Well... (3, Funny)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | more than 2 years ago | (#39357985)

Yeah! Google would bid $1.25 and a double cheeseburger.

Re:Well... (4, Insightful)

ddd0004 (1984672) | more than 2 years ago | (#39358077)

Maybe this is the real goal of Yahoo. To force someone to buy them and maximize their cheeseburger multiplier.

Re:Well... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39358113)

If Facebook feels that threatened, it can just buy Yahoo. What's the value now, $1.25, or is that including a cheeseburger?

I'm sure Google would just sit by and let Facebook buy Yahoo.

Actually, they probably would. The FTC would come down on them hard for anticompetitive acquisitions. Actually, didn't they already try (or consider) that once before and got shot down for that very reason?

Re:Well... (1)

dcw3 (649211) | more than 2 years ago | (#39368291)

Actually, they probably would. The FTC would come down on them hard for anticompetitive acquisitions

Oh, you mean like they did with Sirius and XM, the massive merger of news companies, and how many options do we have for cellphones service providers?

Re:Well... (1)

Mabhatter (126906) | more than 2 years ago | (#39358889)

Microsoft has Google tied up with Anti-trust mongering right now. (ironic that the only actual monopoly was so quick to turn the DoJ on somebody else) Microsoft has a deal with Yahoo that is basically a "poison pill" if Google tried to buy them. Microsoft couldn't buy Yahoo either, so they are just going to help their buddy Facebook drag them under.. And Microsoft will line up for the useful bits.

Like all Microsoft's deals, they are really betting Yahoo will not just get the short stick, but go under... "all of this has happened before, all of this will happen again" Yang knew this was the end... If Yahoo didn't stand on its own two feet and Fight. He couldn't get the Board and Management to see it.. But it's not his problem now.

Re:Well... (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#39358005)

But now Yahoo can wield its patent threat against Facebook as an asset, increasing its Yahoo's share price for Facebook or whoever else might want to buy it. I'm sure google would like to get some patent ammo against Facebook for example.

Re:Well... (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39358223)

I imagine Google would want some real patents. Yahoo may get a bit of push in stock price, but ultimately it will continue it's inevitable decline.

If Yahoo wants to go after those that fucked it over, it could start by hunting down Jerry Yang and selling his organs to the highest bidder. That would probably make the company more money than this idiotic lawsuit.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39358245)

At the end of last year Facebook had about $4bn in cash and a $5bn line of credit. citation [ibtimes.com]
Current market capitalization of Yahoo! is over $17bn citation [yahoo.com]
So no, Facebook cannot "just buy Yahoo!".

After the IPO things might look different, but that's the way it is right now.

Re:Well... (2)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#39358645)

You can buy a company with stock. You don't need cash. And you don't need to buy all of it. If Yahoo is only worth 17 billion dollars then probably 5 billion dollars will get you a controlling interest. You'd need to buy from the right investors, but 2 billion in cash and 3 billion in facebook stock looks like a much better place to have your money than 5 billion dollars in yahoo right now.

This works the other way too. Yahoo will probably ask for 5% of facebook or the like. Suddenly that increases their value as a company to 22 billion dollars (assuming facebook sits at a 100 billion dollar valuation). If facebook tanks they're out the cost of some lawyers time, and if facebook suddenly becomes a 300 billion dollar company they will have doubled their own value.

5% is a made up number. It seems like it's big enough to convey they point, but small enough as to not sound absurd, but really, I have no idea what it should be.

Re:Well... (1)

deuist (228133) | more than 2 years ago | (#39360705)

I think that was SCO's thinking when it sued IBM

Re:Well... (1)

Mabhatter (126906) | more than 2 years ago | (#39358813)

It won't come to that, I like the "buy me" option. Of course if Yahoo! offered a "buy it now" price with a "one click" option they would then get sued by eBay and Amazon.

Fortunately, (unfortunately) Microsoft has quite a bit of cash in BOTH horses and Uncle Bill won't like to see it pissed away.... I see merger/buyout/Microsoft forcing them to the table and building some new "open standard" for social networking patents between them.

Patents rewarding innovators? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39357867)

... not when they can be sold to other people. Here, the innovators are S.O.L. while Yahoo uses patents for their inventions for its own purposes.

Yeah right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39357899)

Oh that's rich! Yahoo needs to pull itself out of hole of spam and Viagra before it makes claims like that. Please! Who in their right mind still uses yahoo? People who are dying to get bombarded with useless adds? Good bye Yahoo, it was nice knowing you.

Re:Yeah right (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | more than 2 years ago | (#39358589)

AT&T uses Yahoo... therefore, it is the default home page and mail client for anyone using AT&T as an ISP. They have similar agreements with a number of other ISPs.

Microsoft also uses Yahoo data for a number of their services.

Yahoo switched from being an end-user directory-based search service to being a tiered data and networked service provider years ago. You're likely using Yahoo services right now and don't even know it.

Does anyone think Facebook deserves this? (4, Interesting)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 2 years ago | (#39357921)

Facebook.... well, Mark Zuckerberg, kind of deserves this. It's well known he stole Facebook from several people. [wired.com] Sure he wrote the code, but he was paid to write Facebook. Yes I know Paul and the twins [wired.com] ended up losing their lawsuit, but just because they couldn't afford to fight a billion-dollar legal team doesn't mean they're wrong.

Is Yahoo's lawsuits just karma catching up with Mark?

Re:Does anyone think Facebook deserves this? (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39358125)

Look, Zuckerburg didn't invent social networking and neither did twins, and neither did Yahoo. The twins' case was bullshit, and so is Yahoo's.

Yahoo's lawsuits designed to pump up Yahoo's share price so someone with sufficiently deep pockets and small brain will buy them up. I suspect Yahoo is hoping Facebook will, just as SCO hoped that IBM would put them out of their misery and make the executives rich. Yahoo was completely fucked over by Jerry Yang, who refused Microsoft's outrageously large offer, and now it's down to this. This isn't the end of Facebook, this is the end of Yahoo. Either Zuckerburg will call their bluff and that will be it and whatever value is left in the company will be sold piecemeal to the highest bidders. But the company, well, it's worth shit. For chrissakes they're renting Bing as their search engine. They're utterly pointless.

Re:Does anyone think Facebook deserves this? (1)

Ctrl+Alt+De1337 (837964) | more than 2 years ago | (#39365361)

Most people around here probably haven't noticed or don't care, but Yahoo! Sports is one of the finest online sports outlets there is. When the rest of Yahoo! collapses, I hope its sports department gets scooped up and kept in tact by someone. In particular, Fox should buy that division and replace everything it has with the Yahoo! equivalent.

Re:Does anyone think Facebook deserves this? (1)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 2 years ago | (#39358159)

Ceglia is a convicted scam artist, and the Winklevosses aren't exactly short of money. They showed up in court with 5 lawyers from 2 different firms. They lost because their cases had no merit.

Re:Does anyone think Facebook deserves this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39358421)

Yeah. I forgot that part about the infallible justice system. I forgot that the infallible justice system stands in for the one true universal moral code. I also forgot that the justice system remains infallible even when untested abstract legal interpretations are presided over by judges who demonstrate a complete lack of understanding of the underlying concepts, claims, and applicable legal precedent. Hey it seems like I'm forgetting a lot so maybe, "I forgot about ~15-30% of the financial scope of my business in that disclosure" is an acceptable tried and true defense against fraud in our infallible justice system and universal moral code. Thanks for setting me straight and keeping it real bro. You make the world a better place. God bless you.

Re:Does anyone think Facebook deserves this? (1)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 2 years ago | (#39358485)

Yeah, I forgot that a random slashdotter and a Wired reporter represented a more objective and thoroughly-demonstrated truth than a public trial. My bad.

Re:Does anyone think Facebook deserves this? (1)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 2 years ago | (#39368823)

Yeah, I forgot that a random slashdotter and a Wired reporter represented a more objective and thoroughly-demonstrated truth than a public trial. My bad.

Yeah, we've never had examples of bad verdicts. Never ever. Perfect justice system is what the US has.

Re:Does anyone think Facebook deserves this? (1)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 2 years ago | (#39374381)

Just as many as we have had strawmen on Slashdot

Re:Does anyone think Facebook deserves this? (1)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359001)

The movie had it right. If the Winklevosses were going to invent Facebook, they would have invented Facebook.

Re:Does anyone think Facebook deserves this? (1)

NIN1385 (760712) | more than 2 years ago | (#39358241)

Facebook.... well, Mark Zuckerberg, kind of deserves this. It's well known he stole Facebook from several people. [wired.com] Sure he wrote the code, but he was paid to write Facebook. Yes I know Paul and the twins [wired.com] ended up losing their lawsuit, but just because they couldn't afford to fight a billion-dollar legal team doesn't mean they're wrong. Is Yahoo's lawsuits just karma catching up with Mark?

No, it's a ton of lawyers making tons of money by going after another ton of lawyers. Mark will not give one fuck, he's made his money.

Re:Does anyone think Facebook deserves this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39358939)

> Facebook.... well, Mark Zuckerberg, kind of deserves this. It's well known he stole Facebook from several people. [wired.com]

I'll call bullshit there. What, exactly, did he steal? He had no non-disclosure agreement, no non-compete, no agreement to hand over any Intellectual Property. As far as anyone can prove, he was paid to develop some code, which he did. He also developed some code for himself that did not share any code with his other works (this has been validated in the court case verses the Twins).

You cannot copyright an idea, only an implementation. He may have stole the idea of Facebook, but again, you cannot copyright the idea.

Ideas are a dime a dozen anyway, it is always about implementation.

Re:Does anyone think Facebook deserves this? (1)

Saint Dharma (1755726) | more than 2 years ago | (#39360285)

In a word: Yes. In several words: Zuckerberg is a very smart man, but even very smart men can be very, very stupid and short-sighted and a general pain in the ass. I would say that it's less Karma and more Zuckerberg having to pay the Danegeld to Yahoo. Of course, if Yahoo wins, then the feeding frenzy begins anew, and like the Danegeld, once you pay it, you'll never get rid of them.

Anal probe (1)

OldGunner (2576825) | more than 2 years ago | (#39357951)

I wonder how many techology companies are going to instruct their legal staffs to give Yahoo the ultimate anal probe with an eye towards brining them down. Revenge is a dish best served cold. ------ Someday I'll figure out how to put a pithy saying in this space.

The vast majority of patents are just ... (3, Interesting)

Skapare (16644) | more than 2 years ago | (#39358041)

... used as economic and financial TERRORISM by big corporations.

Re:The vast majority of patents are just ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39359161)

Either they are legal rights or they are not. The courts only decide what the rights mean within the law and notably, precedent. Do not be surprised when a government gives you a monopoly and a court to enforce that monopoly, that both will be used with great vigor.

If you object to patent law then you should also object to anti-trust law. Both are far weaker or nonexistent in other countries.

Re:The vast majority of patents are just ... (2)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 2 years ago | (#39361773)

If you object to patent law then you should also object to anti-trust law.

Eh? If you object to monopolies, you should object to breaking up monopolies? Makes no sense.

Just another bitter soul... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39358059)

Another bitter soul who sold out and now is angry that he lost more than he realized. Get a life people. Nothing here to read.

All patenting is trolling (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39358087)

"weaponized patents", that's like saying a weaponized gun.

Anyways, Facebook can defend itself. But think about the chilling effect on smaller companies like semi-successful startups.

There can be no ownership of an idea, unlike ownership of physical things. It is not defensible philosophically, as it is incompatible with control of your body (brain) and contractual agreements. Patents are simply monopoly privileges, which have as destructive effect on innovation and competitive entry when applied systematically.

Sold (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39358097)

>Andy Baio sold Upcoming.org to
>sold
Now, ya see, you've got absolutely nothing to say on this subject, pal.

Only if happens soon enough (2)

hamalnamal (2499998) | more than 2 years ago | (#39358101)

I agree with Mark Cuban, but only if it happens soon enough. Obviously nothing is guaranteed but there does seem to be a certain lifetime for social networking platforms (and facebook may or may not be reaching its own as shown by declining membership numbers in its initial markets), so they would have to win their suits before facebook collapses on its own, otherwise they end up with no money and no outrage from consumers.

Mark Cuban doesn't understand what is going on (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 2 years ago | (#39358337)

Why? Because if Yahoo collects, say, $50 billion from Facebook and forces the social networking company out of business, consumers will revolt and demand patent reform.

If Facebook were to be destroyed as a going concern because a verdict in Yahoo!'s favor exceeded Facebook's ability to pay (which is fantastically unlikely, but let's ignore that for a moment), its assets (including software, databases, and domain names, trademarks, etc.) would be sold off to pay its debts -- most likely sold to the same buyer, because they'd be most valuable together. And that buyer -- because its the best way to get value out of those assets -- would almost certainly continue to use them to operate the social network called "Facebook", with no break in continuity. Sure, if they didn't change anything they'd either have to (a) get a license from Yahoo!, or (b) be Yahoo!, but even if liability from past infringement was enough to wipe out the existing Facebook corporation, the value of future use would almost certainly justify any purchaser of the assets securing the needed licenses to Yahoo! patents (unless Yahoo! acquired the assets directly, in which case they wouldn't need a license.)

So, from a consumer perspective, the social network known as Facebook wouldn't be destroyed by the lawsuit, even if the business entity currently known as Facebook was destroyed by it. So consumers are unlikely to care.

Really? (2)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359203)

'I thought I was giving them a shield,'

Yeah, this country came along and asked me to make them a nuclear weapon, but promised they'd only use it if they were attacked. So I made it for them. And now that they're on the verge of collapse they're using it to extort their neighbours.

Who's surprised? Patents aren't defensive.

Re:Really? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39362887)

if he wanted to give them a shield.. ...he should just have published it as a prior art.

he was never giving them a shield, he was giving them a knife to be used if attacked - that's quite far ways from giving a shield.

Uh... (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359937)

Has there ever been a patent that *wasn't* weaponized?

Re:Uh... (1)

jpwilliams (2430348) | more than 2 years ago | (#39360845)

Yes. Many patents aren't weaponized, and are defensive. The media, and many here, are focussing on the case where desperate companies like Yahoo are using them as weapons. I would wager the vast majority of patents are not used in this way.

Many arguments here focus on the philosophical "you can't own an idea." This may be true, but the practical reason for patents (justifiable philosophically or not) is to incentivize the development of new technologies. I've experienced the benefit of this thinking first hand, growing up with two engineer parents who, between them, owned/created somewhere around 30 patents.

Fact of the matter is they wouldn't have worked on these technologies if another company could legally come in, replicate their product exactly, and take a significant slice of potential market share. You can call that greedy, but the money that the patent protection afforded my parents (and many other inventors and the companies they work for) feeds families.

On a corporate level, I witnessed the work my parents did for Motorola and National Instruments in the early 90s get ripped off by other companies. When this occurred, the violating companies had a few choices: stop using that tech in that way, license it, or be bought out by the patent owning company. That was what was offered before litigation occurred. You can call this destructive, but ask yourself this ... would you, as an engineer or owner of a company, invest in the development of a product if you knew it was going to be ripped off right away and you wouldn't make nearly as much money as you could? If such robbery were legal, the incentive to invest in development would be diminished greatly.

Is Yahoo's use of these patents frivolous? Absolutely. But let's not universalize here and categorize all patents as bad. I support innovation and the free spread of ideas, but there is a price to pay when you no longer incentivize the commercialization of those ideas, and destroy the tools that allow creators to hope for profit protected by law.

Re:Uh... (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#39361043)

Fact of the matter is they wouldn't have worked on these technologies if another company could legally come in, replicate their product exactly, and take a significant slice of potential market share.

Really???!! What were your parents, owners of the companies that used those patents? Or were they for some other reason paid a percentage of company's revenue or profits over some extended period of time?

If not, it is no loss for them.

Re:Uh... (1)

Jonner (189691) | more than 2 years ago | (#39361747)

The problem is patents on intangible things that were not until recently patentable like software and processes. I don't think patents on tangible inventions were used as weapons nearly as often. Now, it's not possible to write software and be confident you haven't unwittingly infringed someone's patent.

LOL! Users will REVOLT!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39360297)

Ok Cuban. Users will revolt over the loss of Facebook??? Hmmmm, Is a revolt what caused them to flee Myspace? Or any of the other social networking sites? They're all nothing but pet rocks and if FB disappeared tomorrow then the sheep will go running to some OTHER vanity site.

do7l (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39360467)

started work on The [political mess

There is no such things as a defensive weapon (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#39362915)

You make a weapon, you bear some culpability for its use in anger. I'm looking at you, Red Hat.

software patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39400647)

Indeed, the area of software patents [aminn.org] looks to be the next frontier of extensive intellectual property legal battles. While I'm not against the idea of patenting software, I wouldn't be surprised if these coming fights eventually led either to new limitations on software patents, or even to their elimination altogether.

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