/// Will Thompson’s Ouster Mean a Yahoo-Facebook Patent Settlement Too?

May 13, 2012  |  All Things Digital


As the freshly crowned CEO of Yahoo in January, Scott Thompson initiated a series of dramatic acts to get the company back on track. The most notable was to make the boldest — or most boneheaded — move the head of Yahoo could make: Filing a patent infringement lawsuit against Facebook . The controversial move was wildly unpopular in Silicon Valley and even among many Yahoo employees. But after a week-long, drawn out controversy over a fake computer science degree on Thompson’s resume, he is reportedly headed out , and now global media head Ross Levinsohn is in the driver’s seat as interim CEO. Now one of the big questions is: Will Levinsohn take steps to repair Yahoo’s relationship with Facebook, especially since it has proved to be one of the most fruitful the ailing Silicon Valley Internet giant has seen in years? Sources say that some members of Yahoo’s board, as well as the top exec, would welcome a settlement with Facebook on the litigation. Thompson was the main advocate of the in-your-face strategy against the social networking giant, levying a barrage of legal claims at a critical time — the quiet period before Facebook’s public offering this month. So, if Yahoo wanted to turn back the tide of rancor toward Facebook, now is the time it could happen. The lawsuit essentially deemed Facebook a thief of Yahoo’s social innovation, claiming that were it not for its many years of research and development, products such as its News Feed, privacy settings, advertising models and more would never have come into existence. “Facebook’s entire social network model, which allows users to create profiles for and connect with, among other things, persons and businesses, is based on Yahoo’s patented social networking technology,” one line from Yahoo’s lawsuit reads.

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Will Thompson’s Ouster Mean a Yahoo-Facebook Patent Settlement Too?



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