Yahoo Loses Patent Infringement Case, $12.4 Million

Patent collector gets its way again

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IMVironments – the little background themes for Yahoo Messenger – have gotten Yahoo in a lot of trouble.  The company’s lost a patent infringement case that concerns them, and as a result, is supposed to pay a subsidiary of Acacia Research Corporation $12.4 million.

With no offense intended to Yahoo’s lawyers, it’s safe to say that the odds never favored a Yahoo victory; a few details strongly imply that Acacia’s a patent troll.  Take, for example, the fact that the case was tried in the District Court for the Eastern District of Texas – a spot known for favoring plaintiffs.

Acacia’s homepage also says a lot, since ten of the eleven "Recent News" items relate to patents and litigation.

Then here’s one very telling fact that Rachael King recently discovered while researching the company: "Acacia has filed at least 337 patent-related lawsuits in its 18 years."

Anyway, Yahoo now has to fork over $12.4 million, and Acacia should also benefit from an ongoing royalty rate of 23 percent for all Yahoo IMVironments sales.

On the bright side, Yahoo’s stock is up a tiny bit this morning, even as the Dow and Nasdaq are heading down.  Hat tip goes to Robin Wauters.

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Yahoo Loses Patent Infringement Case, $12.4 Million
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  • http://www.PIAUSA.org Ronald Riley

    In other words Yahoo was caught with their sticky fingers in someone’s pate nt cookie jar.

    Theft of independent and academic inventors patent properties is rampant. Big companies have an entitlement mentality and are stealing the fruits of American ingenuity on the grandest of scales. If not for this theft there would not be any business of patent enforcement entities.

    The Eastern District court in Texas does not allow the kind of delaying tactics which large patent pirating companies get away with in many other courts. The reason plaintiffs are wining cases in the court is that the plaintiff s are victims of poor conduct.

    To some degree companies who are caught stealing other’s patent properties may be victims of poor legal advice. All they need to do is fess up early on to their dirty deeds, make their victims whole and change their patent pirating ways. Until members of the Coalition for Patent Fairness (aka. the Piracy Coalition) stop misappropriating others inventions the inventors will continue to seek redress in the courts.

    It is patent enforcement companies like acacia who wear the white hats and members of the Piracy Coalition who have the black hats. Perhaps the best way to correct this problem is to criminalize patent theft, especial willful patent theft and send the managers who are perpetuating fraud on America’s inventors to jail. The adverse social impact of wide scale patent theft ranks right next to the damage which the financial dis service industry has caused our economy. Inventors and the companies based on those inventions are the most important source of good jobs.

    Ronald J. Riley,

    I am speaking only on my own behalf.
    President – www.PIAUSA.org – RJR at PIAUSA.org
    Executive Director – www.InventorEd.org – RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow – www.PatentPolicy.org
    President – Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (810) 597-0194 / (202) 318-1595 – 9 am to 8 pm EST.

  • James

    Step back for a moment and think. The idea of putting advertisements in the background of a chat window is PATENTED? Our intellectual property system is a century outdated and horribly broken. I might agree with software patents like this if they had a lifetime of 6 to 12 months, but it takes longer than that just to receive the patent. We need an overhaul of the system to bring the law into harmony with the reality of the rapid progress in our modern world.

    Remember that the purpose of patents is to promote innovation and openness, not just to flood the patent office with crackpot ideas in the hope that one will slip below the radar of common sense and bring a $12 million jackpot.

  • Guest

    “a few details strongly imply that Acacia’s a patent troll”

    All this talk about

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