Yahoo turns into a patent troll

Troubled search outfit Yahoo has looked at the various patent wars that are making tiny companies a lot of cash and has decided “I’ll be ‘aving some of that.”

Apparently m’learned friends working for Yahoo have penned a stiff letter to Facebook demanding that the social notworker pay licensing fees for use of its technology.

Although patent wars are now becoming commonplace in the rest of the IT industry, the social notworking realm has been relatively quiet.

M’learned friends for Yahoo said that the patents include the technical mechanisms in the Facebook’s ads, privacy controls, news feed and messaging service.

The too have already had words about the 10 to 20 Yahoo’s patents but could not come to any agreements on how many zeros should be on the cheque, or if a cheque should be written.

Yahoo claimed other outfits had already written cheques on some of the technologies at issue, and that it would act unilaterally if Facebook refused to pay up.

Facebook was a little more cynical about it. According to Reuters, it pointed out that Yahoo contacted it at the same time it called the New York Times and broke the story. So far Facebook has not had time to look at the claims properly.

Others might point out that the patent claims follow Facebook’s announcement of plans for an initial public offering that could value the company at about $100 billion.

Apparently it is traditional amongst dotcoms to see an uptick in patent claims asserted against them as they move through the IPO process.

Normally these claims are from people who make a living from being patent trolls and not large tech companies such as Yahoo. But then again Yahoo has been running into a few problems lately.