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Facebook Patent Suit backfires against Yahoo

When Yahoo threatened to sue Facebook over patent infringement, it didn’t win many friends. Then, when it actually went ahead with its lawsuit earlier this week, it promptly made a lot of enemies. Many in the tech industry have spoken out either in favor of Facebook or about the absurdity of patent law in general. Various observers have called Yahoo’s patent suit everything from “preposterous” to “pathetic and heartbreaking” to (of course) “desperate.” According to venture capitalist Fred Wilson, who calls the suit a “crock of sh-t,” Yahoo crossed an “unspoken line” in suing another web company over patents. There hasn’t been an unique idea in the web space for more than a decade, he says, and Yahoo’s opening itself up to be sued by someone else over “bogus” patents.

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When Yahoo threatened to sue Facebook over patent infringement, it didn’t win many friends. Then, when it actually went ahead with its lawsuit earlier this week, it promptly made a lot of enemies. Many in the tech industry have spoken out either in favor of Facebook or about the absurdity of patent law in general. Various observers have called Yahoo’s patent suit everything from “preposterous” to “pathetic and heartbreaking” to (of course) “desperate.” According to venture capitalist Fred Wilson, who calls the suit a “crock of sh-t,” Yahoo crossed an “unspoken line” in suing another web company over patents. 

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There hasn’t been an unique idea in the web space for more than a decade, he says, and Yahoo’s opening itself up to be sued by someone else over “bogus” patents. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who has spoken publicly about reforming patent law in the past, says he would like to see Yahoo destroy Facebook with its lawsuit. It’s not because he believes Yahoo is in the right, but because he thinks a massive verdict — on the order of $50 billion — would make consumers take notice, and perhaps spark the needed reform.

Most interesting was Andy Baio, who wrote in Wired about his experience as a Yahoo employee. Yahoo acquired his company, Upcoming.org, in 2005, and shortly afterward asked him to file patents on his software as part of campaign to stockpile intellectual property. Baio says he was given assurances that Yahoo’s patents would only be used defensively.

Now Baio says Yahoo was essentially “weaponizing” his work and its current lawsuit is an “insult” to him and other engineers who filed patents on its behalf. SEE ALSO: 5 Things Yahoo’s New CEO Must Do Now Most reactions, while clearly and sometimes virulently anti-Yahoo, aren’t necessarily pro-Facebook. For its part, the social network — which is in an SEC-mandated quiet period as it awaits it hotly anticipated IPO — has only said it’s disappointed and will defend itself “vigorously.” It’s also notable that no one is talking about whether or not Yahoo actually has a good case as far as the letter of the law is concerned. If history is any indication, it probably does. Almost 10 years ago, Yahoo sued Google over its pay-per-click patent, which it alleged Google was infringing on with its AdWords service. The two eventually settled. However, in this case, the 10 patents Yahoo is claiming Facebook is violating apply to many web services.

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Tech Industry Scorns Yahoo Over Facebook Patent Suit

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Myanmar

Digital Revolution and Repression in Myanmar and Thailand

Activists have also proactively published social media content in multiple languages using the hashtags #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar and #WhatsHappeningInThailand to boost coverage of events on the ground.

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By Karen Lee

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Following the February 1 coup, Myanmar’s netizens became the latest to join the #MilkTeaAlliance, an online collective of pro-democracy youth across Asia.

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Ecommerce

How will oil prices shape the Covid-19 recovery in emerging markets?

Oxford Business Group

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How will oil prices shape the Covid-19 recovery in emerging markets?
– After falling significantly in 2020, oil prices have returned to pre-pandemic levels
– The rise has been driven by OPEC+ production cuts and an improving economic climate
– Higher prices are likely to support a rebound in oil-producing emerging markets
– Further virus outbreaks or increased production would pose challenges to price stability

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A combination of continued production cuts and an increase in economic activity has prompted oil prices to return to pre-pandemic levels – a factor that will be crucial to the recovery of major oil-producing countries in the Middle East and Africa.

Brent crude prices rose above $60 a barrel in early February, the first time they had exceeded pre-Covid-19 values. They have since continued to rise, going above $66 a barrel on February 24.

The ongoing increase in oil prices, which have soared by 75% since November and around 26% since the beginning of the year, marks a dramatic change from last year.

Following the closure of many national borders and the implementation of travel-related restrictions to stop the spread of the virus, demand for oil slumped globally.

In the wake of the Saudi-Russia price war in early 2020, Brent crude prices fell from around $60 a barrel in February that year to two-decade lows of $20 a barrel in late April, as supply increased and demand plummeted. The value of WTI crude – the main benchmark for oil in the US – fell to record lows of around $40 a barrel last year on the back of a lack of storage space.

While global demand for oil remains low, one factor credited with reversing the trend is the decision to make significant cuts to oil production, which subsequently tightened global supplies.

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Tech

How the Rural-Urban Divide Plays Out on Digital Platforms

It is one thing for entrepreneurs, whether urban or rural, to create and operate an online store, as some digital platforms have made it relatively easy to manage an e-store – even by using just a smartphone.

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In the West, villages are emptying out due to the lack of economic opportunities. Consider Italy where, in a bid to attract newcomers, a handful of municipalities have turned to selling houses for €1.

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