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Yahoo rips Facebook patent-lawsuit strategy

Published: April 28, 2012 | 8:49 am
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Yahoo accused Facebook of retaliating against a patent-infringement lawsuit by buying patents that the social-networking site used as the basis for its countersuit against the Web portal company.

Facebook bought the patents after it was sued by Yahoo in March and then countersued over the newly acquired technologies as payback for the original lawsuit, Yahoo said in a filing Friday in federal court in San Jose.

Of the 10 patents at issue in Facebook’s counterclaims, “several” were purchased from patent licensing or holding companies after Yahoo’s complaint was filed and some were “tainted,” the Sunnyvale company said in the filing. A federal judge should invalidate the Facebook patents and dismiss the company’s counterclaims, Yahoo said.

“Many, if not all, of these patents were acquired by Facebook for purposes of retaliation against Yahoo in this case,” said Yahoo. Some of the patents are unenforceable because they were doctored and failed to name all inventors, the company said.

Jonathan Thaw, a spokesman for Menlo Park’s Facebook, said the company will continue to defend itself vigorously.


Zynga CEO’s safety strategy

Zynga CEO Mark Pincus received a compensation package valued at $1.7 million in 2011, most of it in the form of a home security system and related expenses.

Zynga said in a regulatory filing Friday that it spent $1.2 million on the one-time purchase and installation of a security system for Pincus and his family. It was included in roughly $1.4 million of “other compensation” for Pincus. The company expects that this will be a one-time expense.

Pincus, 46, lives in San Francisco with his wife and two daughters.

Zynga, which went public in December, paid its CEO a base salary of $300,000. Pincus also received a bonus of $3,750. His 2010 compensation package totaled $520,239.

The filing says that Pincus also owns about 94.6 million shares of Zynga’s stock. Based on Friday’s closing price, that’s worth about $806 million. The company’s shares have declined in recent weeks amid investor worries about the company’s ability to keep growing quickly. That’s even though Zynga reported better-than-expected results this week for its first quarter.


Intuit buying Demandforce

Intuit, the Mountain View maker of the Quicken financial software suite, on Friday said it had agreed to buy San Francisco’s Demandforce, which provides online marketing software for small and medium-size businesses, for $423.5 million.

Intuit said Demandforce has thousands of customers, including dentists, spas, salons, optometrists and chiropractors, and will help Intuit expand into “high-value” services for small and medium-size businesses.


Wells Fargo purchasing Merlin Securities

Wells Fargo has agreed to purchase Merlin Securities, a prime brokerage that serves hedge funds and other clients with as much as $2 billion in assets.

The purchase is Wells Fargo’s first foray into prime brokerage services and the bank will use the business as a foundation to expand, said Christopher Bartlett, head of equity sales and trading at the San Francisco lender. Bartlett wouldn’t say in an interview how much Wells Fargo paid, and a subsequent company statement Friday didn’t disclose terms.



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