This is the first official news that Yahoo and Facebook are in negotiations to settle their respective patent infringement lawsuits. The news comes in the form of a court filing by Yahoo asking for a two-week delay on a hearing in the case, and was reported by All Things Digital.
The filing was brief, but to the point, saying “the parties are currently engaged in settlement negotiations to resolve this dispute.” And went on to request more time. The fact that they are only asking for two weeks alludes to the fact that the two are in advanced negotiations at this point and an agreement could be reached soon.
Analysts are saying that it is unlikely that either party will fork over any money in the final settlement. Simply, Yahoo is seeking an enhanced partnership with Facebook and some cross licensing of mutual patents. Yahoo wants a deeper integration into Facebook, and vice versa.
According to All Things Digital, the resignation of former CEO Scott Thompson is playing a huge role in the Yahoo wanting to step up talks and get this thing over with. It was under Thompson’s leadership that the patent suit was filed, with promises that they would receive billions for the rights. Only problem was, Facebook purchased patents from Microsoft instead, and used them to counter-sue.
Now Yahoo board members are trying distance themselves from Thompson, who left amid a resume padding scandal, and the patent suit that left silicon valley in an uproar over what was dubbed “patent trolling“. Many thought, and continue to think, that the lawsuit was a sign that Yahoo was just trying to stay afloat after becoming increasingly irrelevant in today’s market.
The talks are being led by COO Sheryl Sandberg and VP of Partnerships Dan Rose on the side of Facebook. Interim CEO Ross Levinsohn and the Yahoo board of directors make up the other half of the discussion. Expect an announcement on the settlement in the next few weeks. By the time it gets here there will surely be few revelations, and little, if any, money will actually change hands.