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Patent rights for social media

5 March 2012

Yahoo!, in a recent meeting with Facebook, has demanded licensing fees for the use of 10-20 of their patents over technologies including advertising, newsfeed privacy controls, social networking and messaging and website personalisation.

Following the recent patent wars in the smartphone and tablet sectors, should their demands not be met by Facebook, veteran Yahoo! would be the first social media entity to pursue major legal action in this area.

Is Yahoo trying to assert itself to regain market standing? Or has the move been triggered by the greatly anticipated public offering of Facebook, estimated to be worth $100 billion?

Either way, other patent holders in the social networking sphere will surely be encouraged to walk through the door that Yahoo! has opened, and the awaited Facebook response is likely to influence future patent actions in social media – watch this space.

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Declan Cushley

Declan Cushley

Partner and Head of IP and Commercial Group

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