Yahoo, Facebook reportedly close to settlement

Yahoo and Facebook are reportedly well on their way to settling their patent disputes. According to a report from All Things Digital, the two technology giants are in advanced stages of talks to stop the lawsuits and counterclaims.

The talks may be advancing, reporter Kara Swisher noted, because of the recent ouster of Scott Thompson, Yahoo’s former chief executive officer who was reportedly leading the patent suit push in the first place.

Yahoo and Facebook both declined to comment on the report.

The deal, according to the unnamed “multiple sources close to the situation” cited in the report, may include a cross-licensing deal. There’s also the possibility that Facebook could buy some patents from Yahoo, but likely not in the same price ballpark as its $550 million deal with Microsoft for AOL patents.

Yahoo filed its original suit against Facebook in March for allegedly infringing on 10 patents that dealt with technologies for advertising, privacy, social networking, messaging and allowing users to customize their Web experience. Facebook fired back in early April with a suit of its own, saying that Yahoo violated patents the social network held that related to photo-sharing, the news feed, tagging digital media and other Web elements that build in social features in Web sites.

Settling the lawsuit would likely be good for both sides of the dispute. Facebook likely wants to get the lawsuit off its plate following its IPO, and Yahoo likely wants some money out of the settlement as it continues to revamp its core businesses.

Facebook shares closed at $26.90 in Monday’s trading, down nearly 3 percent from its $27.20 open. Yahoo closed slightly up, at $15.01, from an open of $14.90.

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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