Yahoo versus Facebook: is it time for patent reform?

Yahoo's lawsuit against Facebook last week alleges that the giant social networking company violated 10 of Yahoo’s software patents is drawing much criticism from the tech community that the whole regime surrounding software patents is flawed. “Many software patents are overly broad. They’re not specific chemical formulas. They’re not discrete technologies. Oftentimes they’re amorphous concepts that multiple developers could have dreamed up on their own,” writes Brad Plumer of

Even Andy Baio, a former Yahoo programmer, argues in an article for Wired that “the entire legal regime that enables Yahoo to take Facebook to court needs to be radically overhauled. Software patents should be abolished, plain and simple,” he writes. “Software is already covered by copyright, making patent protection unnecessary.”

The lawsuit is a huge problem for Facebook especially since it plans to launch the biggest Internet IPO in history in a few weeks. No investor wants the uncertainty hanging over Facebook.