The top executives of portal Yahoo and social network Facebook might be just about to be ready to bury the legal hatchets. Both are in advanced settlement talks regarding their patent legal battle. What possible settlement items might be included in the case’s final resolution? If other similar patent infringment case settlements are to serve as a guide, here are some possibilities. The most common resolution involves patent cross-licensing which would free the litigants from suing each other from liability for their use of each other’s technologies. Another approach would be to more deeply integrate each other’s tools.
Still, at this point, Yahoo has not commented regarding its position regarding any mutually acceptable settlement. Just to jog your memory, Yahoo launched the first strike in its legal throw down with Facebook when it filed last March a patent-infringement complaint against Facebook. The suit claims that Facebook illegaly appropriated most of the technology it used to become a social networking behemoth and multibillion dollar company. Given how comprehensive Yahoo’s lawsuit is, you’d think they threw in the sink along with the rest of their claims. To sum up, Yahoo is claiming that Facebook infringed its intellectual properties in everything from how the service places ads on its pages to how it customizes social network users’ views.
Interestingly enough, Yahoo launched its legal SCUD missile at Facebook precisely at the same time the Silicon Valley portal and content giant has become increasingly dependent on Facebook for the mother’s milk of Internet businesses-web traffic. It was only last September when Yahoo News was integrated into Facebook so the social network’s users can easily see and share what news their friends are reading. Indeed, Facebook says that after the integration Yahoo saw its traffic spike threefold. Still, it looks like the settlement talks came in the nick of time since Yahoo claims that it has about 16 more patents that Facebook infringed and which it could include in its suit.
This is not the first time Yahoo has filed a lawsuit against a fast rising competitor. In 2004, it launched a pateent infringement suit against Google over Google’s ad system. That suit resulted in a nice payday settlement of 2.7 million shares for Yahoo.