Breakdown of Trust
It has been reported that Facebook has responded to Yahoo’s recent patent infringement lawsuit by purchasing a portfolio of 750 patents from IBM.
Details of the specifics of the deal are unconfirmed, but there are reports that some (if not all) of the patents relied on in Yahoo’s suit are licensed to it by IBM and that the rights to those very patents may have just been signed over to Facebook. If that is’s the case, Facebook may now be in a position to terminate the licences to Yahoo, which could effectively pull the rug out from underneath its claim. However, if infringements have already occurred, it seems unlikely that Facebook can erase the past.
The Supreme Court’s recent judgement in the case of Flood v Times Newspapers Limited  UKSC 11 is likely to be greeted in muted terms by both online publishers and technology lawyers.
Both groups had hoped that the judgement would clarify the legal status of allegations/implications contained in articles which remain online in their original form even after facts come to light proving that the original allegation/implication was incorrect.
Late nights for Facebook’s legal team in the wake of Yahoo! filing a suit against the social network claiming that it operates in breach of ten patents held in Yahoo’s portfolio.
Outsiders were quick to note that Yahoo didn’t seem to have a problem with Facebook’s technology until very recently, many going so far as to speculate that Yahoo’s decision to go to court may have less to do with defending intellectual property and more to do with securing a settlement paid in equity before Facebook goes public later this year.
As well as underscoring the importance of patenting innovations at the first possible opportunity, Yahoo’s claim raises interesting questions about whether current software patenting regimes (both in the UK and US) are viable in the longer term.
Tamiz v Google Inc is the latest in a series of cases in which individuals have sought damages from Google in respect of allegedly defamatory material published about them on its ‘Blogger.com’ platform.
Google’s usual policy for dealing with such complaints is to refuse to take sides, awaiting a court order before taking action. This approach has led to cases such as Tamiz, in which defendants have sued Google directly after it has denied takedown requests.
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