Facebook is not only defending itself against the patent infringement lawsuit filed by Yahoo last month, they are taking the offensive with their own suit.
In a lawsuit filed today, Facebook accuses Yahoo of violating ten of their patents including photo tagging, advertising, and online recommendations.
In a statement to the press,Ted Ullyot, Facebook’s counsel said, “From the outset, we said we would defend ourselves vigorously against Yahoo’s lawsuit, and today we filed our answer as well as counter-claims against Yahoo for infringing ten of Facebook’s patents, While we are asserting patent claims of our own, we do so in response to Yahoo’s short-sighted decision to attack one of its partners and prioritize litigation over innovation.”
Yahoo responded in a statement, “We have only just received Facebook’s answer and counterclaims, but on their face we believe they are without merit and nothing more than a cynical attempt to distract from the weakness of its defense.”
Facebook called the Yahoo suit “puzzling” at the time, and it’s easy to see why. Facebook is responsible for increasing traffic to Yahoo by 300% in Q4 last year.
Facebook recently bought patents from IBM in preparation for their defense, but it is unclear if or how many of those patents will be used in the countersuit. One of the patents that will be used belongs to Zuckerberg himself. He is listed as the lead inventor in a patent for a “method of tagging digital media.”
This will be an epic battle between a young, savvy corporate giant against a waning competitor that is past its prime. Hopefully it will be a battle to end patent law in software technology for good. Developers hate these laws, claiming they prevent innovation and creativity while turning their hard work into a tool for patent trolling. Copyright laws exist to protect companies, and that is all that is needed.