Yahoo's 10 patents that it claims Facebook infringed

With Facebook on the road to IPO, Yahoo has placed ten of its patents in its path. Investors will be placing their bets on who they believe has the better legal standing and lawyers in this new patent war.

With Facebook on the road to its other-worldly IPO that could value the company at $100 billion, Yahoo has placed ten of its patents in its path . Is it a bump in the road or a kind of roadblock that could impact Facebook's IPO's success?

The patents are wide-ranging, covering everything from placing ads on Web pages and customizing views for social users (Facebook's core News Feed) to privacy controls and dynamic page generation. Yahoo also includes claims on particular methods and systems that allow instant messaging users to exchange messages with e-mail users.

Yahoo's position, stated in its filing, is that "Yahoo! is harmed by Facebook's use of Yahoo!'s patented technologies in a way that cannot be compensated for by payment of royalty alone." (The exclamation point in the word "Yahoo!" is another of Yahoo's patents--not really.) Yahoo is going after many of the billions that will soon materialize for Facebook. In a statement Facebook responded to the suit, "We will defend ourselves vigorously against these puzzling actions."

Facebook and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, have already been through various legal challenges, but not one that claims that the social network, which launched eight years ago, infringes ten patents that are core to its operation.

What Facebook called "puzzling actions" will be a windfall for lawyers, at least, and it will likely take years to determine whether Yahoo's patents apply to Facebook, or other companies, such as Google, who offer some of the same features. Investors will be placing their bets on who they believe has the better legal standing and lawyers in this new patent war.

Following are abstracts of the ten patents that Yahoo believes Facebook has infringed upon with its social network technology:

U.S. Patent No. 6,907,566

Method and system for optimum placement of advertisements on a webpage

Abstract

A method and system for placement of graphical objects on a page to optimize the occurrence of an event associated with such objects. The graphical objects might include, for instance, advertisements on a webpage, and the event would include a user clicking on that ad. The page includes positions for receipt of the object material. Data regarding the past performance of the objects is stored and updated as new data is received. A user requests a page from a server associated with system. The server uses the performance data to derive a prioritized arrangement of the objects on the page. The server performs a calculation regarding the likelihood that an event will occur for a given object, as displayed to a particular user. The objects are arranged according to this calculation and returned to the user on the requested page. The likelihood can also be multiplied by a weighting factor and the objects arranged according to this product.

U.S. Patent No. 7,100,111

Method and system for optimum placement of advertisements on a webpage

Abstract

A method and system for placement of graphical objects on a page to optimize the occurrence of an event associated with such objects. The graphical objects might include, for instance, advertisements on a webpage, and the event would include a user clicking on that ad. The page includes positions for receipt of the object material. Data regarding the past performance of the objects is stored and updated as new data is received. A user requests a page from a server associated with system. The server uses the performance data to derive a prioritized arrangement of the objects on the page. The server performs a calculation regarding the likelihood that an event will occur for a given object, as displayed to a particular user. The objects are arranged according to this calculation and returned to the user on the requested page. The likelihood can also be multiplied by a weighting factor and the objects arranged according to this product.

U.S. Patent No. 7,373,599

Method and system for optimum placement of advertisements on a webpage

Abstract

A method and system for placement of graphical objects on a page to optimize the occurrence of an event associated with such objects. The graphical objects might include, for instance, advertisements on a webpage, and the event would include a user clicking on that ad. The page includes positions for receipt of the object material. Data regarding the past performance of the objects is stored and updated as new data is received. A user requests a page from a server associated with system. The server uses the performance data to derive a prioritized arrangement of the objects on the page. The server performs a calculation regarding the likelihood that an event will occur for a given object, as displayed to a particular user. The objects are arranged according to this calculation and returned to the user on the requested page. The likelihood can also be multiplied by a weighting factor and the objects arranged according to this product.

Drawing from Yahoo U.S. Patent No. 7,373,599

U.S. Patent No. 7,668,861

System and method to determine the validity of an interaction on a network

Abstract

A system and method are disclosed for classifying a user interaction on a network. A user interaction is identified on a network and user interaction data is collected relating to the user interaction on the network. The user interaction data includes an aggregate measure data and a unique feature data. The user interaction data is processed to generate a value score for the interaction. A classification of the user interaction is determined based on the value score.

U.S. Patent No. 7,269,590

Method and system for customizing views of information associated with a social network user

Abstract

A method, apparatus, and system are directed towards managing a view of a social network user's personal information based, in part, on user-defined criteria. The user-defined criteria may be applied towards a user's relationship with each prospective viewer. The user-defined criteria may include degrees of separation between members of the social network, a relationship to the prospective viewer, as well as criteria based, in part, on activities, such as dating, employment, hobbies, and the like. The user-defined criteria may also be based on a group membership, a strength of a relationship, and the like. Such user-defined relationship criteria may then be mapped against various categories of information associated with social network user to provide customized views of the social network user.

U.S. Patent No. 7,599,935

Control for enabling a user to preview display of selected content based on another user's authorization level

Abstract

Enabling a first user to preview content as it would be seen by a second user, if the second user had a selected user relationship with the first user. The selected user relationship may include a relationship degree, a relationship category, a relationship rating, and/or other form of relationship. In one embodiment, a user interface enables the first user to assign user relationships to portions of content and to other users. The first user selects a user relationship, which is used to access those portions of content that are associated with the first user and assigned the selected user relationship. The corresponding portions of content are used to generate a preview display for the first user, illustrating the portions of content that would be accessible to other users assigned the same user relationship or assigned a closer user relationship. Preview may be generated by a server or a local client.

U.S. Patent No.7,454,509

Online playback system with community bias

Abstract

A method for entertaining individuals according to a community having similar tastes. Information derived from user accounts form the basis of a community and collateral preferences allow other subscribing individuals to enjoy the benefit of wider-ranging tastes according to the preferences expressed by the other members of the community. Additionally, assuming that individuals sharing one preference in common may be likely to share others, the present method allows those who choose to listen to the "fan station" the ability to enjoy similar music or other data streams according to preferences expressed by the fan community as a whole.

U.S. Patent No.5,983,227

Dynamic page generator

Abstract

An custom page server is provided with user preferences organized into templates stored in compact data structures and the live data used to fill the templates stored local to the page server which is handing user requests for custom pages. One process is executed on the page server for every request. The process is provided a user template for the user making the request, where the user template is either generated from user preferences or retrieved from a cache of recently used user templates. Each user process is provided access to a large region of shared memory which contains all of the live data needed to fill any user template. Typically, the pages served are news pages, giving the user a custom selection of stock quotes, news headlines, sports scores, weather, and the like. With the live data stored in a local, shared memory, any custom page can be built within the page server, eliminating the need to make requests from other servers for portions of the live data. While the shared memory might include RAM (random access memory) and disk storage, in many computer systems, it is faster to store all the live data in RAM.

U.S. Patent No.7,747,468

Contents consignment sale system and method for networking broadcasting

Abstract

An Internet broadcasting contents consignment sale system and method. An Internet broadcasting station makes a consignment sale contract with companies or individuals who have copyrights of authored pieces, such as computer and video game makers, filmmakers, music producers, television broadcasting stations, and publishers; generates the consigned authored pieces into specific contents data; allows users to use the contents data only through a specific execution program provided by the Internet broadcasting station; permits Internet users to download the contents via wire and wireless Internet free of charge and keep them; and allows the users to use desired contents data by receiving restoration information on the Internet.

U.S. Patent No.7,406,501

System and method for instant messaging using an e-mail protocol

Abstract

Systems and methods allowing an instant messaging user to exchange messages with an e-mail user. To the instant messaging user, the experience is a seamless exchange of instant messages; to the e-mail user, the experience is a seamless exchange of e-mail messages. Conversion of an instant message to an e-mail message includes insertion of a token into the e-mail message, and conversion of an e-mail message to an instant message includes validating a token extracted from the e-mail message.

 

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