I am pleased to offer Yahoo’s support for Chairman Goodlatte’s Innovation Act.
Patent trolls are a needless drain on the resources of many American companies - resources that could be spent more productively developing new products, investing in equipment, and creating jobs.
The Innovation Act represents a balanced approach that both respects the patent system and levels the playing field. The legislation will streamline cases from the start, prioritize important decisions, reduce costs, force real-parties-in-interest into the litigation, and clarify when winning defendants are able to recover their fees.
While I look forward to continuing to work to improve the bill as it works its way through the legislative process, the bill as amended has great potential to minimize troll behavior.
I encourage all Members of Congress to vote in support of this important legislation.
by Kevin T. Kramer Vice President Intellectual Property, Yahoo
by Megan Cristina, Senior Director, Ad Policy, Trust & Safety
On November 6th and 7th, Yahoos took part in a the Family Online Safety Institute’s annual two-day fast-paced two-day conference. Through meaningful conversation and dialogue, the event brought together industry, public sector and academic players in the online safety world to facilitate open and passionate discussion. From showcasing the latest research, to debating the existing legislation, conference attendees were able to delve into the issues directly affecting Yahoo users.
The event was a special one for Yahoo in particular. This year, along with other industry thought leaders like author Rosalind Wiseman, FOSI recognized Yahoo Legal Director Andrea Scheley for her tireless work in the area of child safety and abuse prevention. When accepting her award, Andrea gave touching remarks on the challenges of handling abuse across different products, ending with a reminder to attendees of how worthwhile efforts to keep children safe online are.
Yahoo also demonstrated a presence on the thought leadership front: Justin Weiss, who leads our international privacy and policy efforts, spoke on a panel to provide conference attendees with a global view on privacy regulations. His insights on the European Union approach to privacy was especially insightful, with a packed room stepping away from the session better informed of the global privacy standards.
Yahoo was happy to once again participate in an event that helps to invigorate players in the online safety space and act as a reminder of the important work that still lies ahead.
by Kevin Kramer, VP and Deputy General Counsel, Intellectual Property
As Yahoo’s lead intellectual property attorney, today I have the pleasure of testifying before the House Committee on the Judiciary in support for the recently-introduced bipartisan Innovation Act. Currently being examined by Congress, the Innovation Act would help fix the widespread problem of abusive patent litigation by patent trolls.
Yahoo currently holds over 1,600 U.S. patents. We believe in the patent system and we believe that patents have a positive role to play in society. However, abusive litigation practices by patent trolls are harming our business and our industry. They are a needless drain on resources that could be spent more productively elsewhere – developing new products, investing in equipment, and creating jobs.
We do our part to address the problem by trying cases when we can, participating as a friend of the court in other cases, and acting responsibly when we sell patents. Our policy has been to sell patents only to operating entities rather than to non-practicing entities (aka, “trolls”) but we believe that common sense reforms are also needed, and only Congress can implement these reforms. We think the Innovation Act is on the right track. It’s a balanced approach that would help level the playing field by streamlining cases from the start, prioritizing important decisions, reducing costs, forcing real-parties-in-interest into the litigation, and clarifying when winning defendants are able to recover their fees.
by Laura Covington, VP, IP Policy
We were so pleased to host an amazing group of entrepreneurs and government representatives from Taiwan at our headquarters in Sunnyvale, California yesterday. The group, organized by the Taiwanese Institute for Information Industry, is visiting the United States to connect with a variety of tech companies to better understand the unique aspects of company culture in Silicon Valley and discuss business strategy and innovation.
Our recent acquisitions were of particular interest for this group, and we had the chance to share with them how our 22 acquisitions in the last year (24 since Marissa Mayer came on board as our CEO!) have been all about adding technology, IP and talent to our efforts worldwide.
For us, it was valuable to connect with this group of entrepreneurs as Taiwan is an important market for us. Our Yahoo Taiwan team’s creativity and dedication has made Yahoo the most visited website in Taiwan for more than a decade. We’re always looking for ways to deliver the most personalized and beautiful product experience for our users in Taiwan, and it was fantastic to build relationships with some of the impressive tech talent to emerge from that country.
Back in March, we announced exciting expansion plans for both our team and our facilities in Lockport, New York: 115 new jobs across engineering, technology and customer care fields, as well as a new data center and customer care center. Today, we had the great honor of breaking ground on our new data and customer care center, which will provide additional capacity and world-class customer care service for our users.
To mark the occasion, we were joined by many New York state and local officials who helped make this growth happen. We were so pleased that Lieutenant Governor of New York, Robert J. Duffy, John Koelmel, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the New York Power Authority, New York State Senator George D. Maziarz, New York State Assemblywoman Jane Corwin, New York State Assemblyman John Ceretto, and Marc Smith, Supervisor of the Town of Lockport, could celebrate with us, along with so many others.
We’re thrilled to be part of the Western New York community and look forward to expanding our partnerships in the region.
For more information, check out this press release from Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo.
by Kevin Boer, Infrastructure Strategy & Gil Yehuda, Director of Open Source/Open Standards
We are very proud to sponsor the Code for America (CfA) Summit this week in San Francisco. The CfA Summit is an annual gathering of more than 300 civic technology leaders, community organizers, CTOs, and many others who share the belief that a government of the people, by the people can work for the 21st century. At Yahoo, we want to support this impressive community by making available our technical tools, open source projects, and the depth of experience of our technical teams…not to mention the awesome willingness of our employees around the world to donate their time and energy to social good projects.
At the 2013 CfA Summit, mayors and other representatives of more than 35 cities discussed how to connect citizens to their local governments through tech interfaces that not only fill an important community need, but are also beautiful and intuitive. We heard from CfA fellows and alumni who worked on such diverse projects as a text messaging app that helps clients of San Francisco’s Human Service Agency get information on their benefits; a Criminal Justice Dashboard developed for the Louisville Criminal Justice Commission to provide access to standardized information; and a web app being used in Oakland to streamline public records. (You can find out more about other CfA apps and projects here.)
We look forward to staying engaged with the CfA community as they work to change the conversation between citizens and governments not just here in the United States, but around the world.
By Margaret Nagle, Head, U.S. Government Affairs
Today we’re pleased to share our U.S. Political Engagement Policy, which notes the contributions, memberships, and guidelines underlying our involvement in the U.S. political process. This is our latest step to transparently inform our users, shareholders, and government stakeholders about Yahoo’s activities and values.
At Yahoo, we are committed to helping create an informed government and to promote and protect the long-term interests of our users and our company through civic participation and community involvement. This is particularly the case here in the United States where our products and services reach over 80% of the total Internet population. We believe it’s critically important to actively engage U.S. policy-makers on key Internet-related issues that affect our users and our business.
Our U.S. public policy team participates in the public policy process in the United States in a variety of ways to ensure that we have a voice in the development of laws and regulations that impact our business. We engage with U.S. government officials on the federal, state and local level to explain our business and to exchange views on key public policy issues. We are also members of trade associations that help advance our business objectives. Finally, individual Yahoo employees may voluntarily contribute to political giving through our Yahoo Political Action Committee.
We will update this policy periodically to reflect any changes, and we encourage you to review our Code of Ethics, which also applies to our political activity.
By Yahoo Global Public Policy Team
Two-thirds of the world’s population is not connected to the Internet. This staggering lack of access is due in large part to the artificially high prices that many people in developing countries simply cannot afford. The result: a widening digital divide that slows progress in critical areas such as health, education and science.
That’s why we are so pleased to support the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI), an organization that aims to reduce high Internet prices in developing countries by leading policy and regulatory reform. We join a diverse group of 30+ private and public sponsors — including Google, Omidyar Network, UK Department for International Development (DFID), and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) — that have come together to put our collective weight behind this important effort.
A4AI launched earlier today at the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation’s Annual Forum in Abuja, Nigeria. To learn more, join the conversation on Twitter and look for a Tumblr later this week by Yahoo’s Ebele Okobi, Global Head of our Business and Human Rights Program, reflecting on A4AI’s goal to drive down access prices to below 5% of monthly income worldwide.
By Ron Brachman, Chief Scientist & Head of Yahoo Labs
Here’s a recipe for awesome:
Take 200 amazing engineering students and faculty of Howard University in Washington, D.C.
- 1 big purple truck
- 125 servers
- A little bit of purple paint
- A whole lot of excitement
Mix together on a beautiful October day, and voilà: a brand new, first-in-class Yahoo Data Center @ Howard University!
(Check out more awesome photos!)
We were so pleased to donate 125 servers to power the brand new Yahoo Data Center at Howard University earlier today.
Our big purple truck pulled up to Howard this morning and offloaded the 125 servers, donations from our Data Center Operations team. We launched our academic server donation program three years ago to help power the great innovation coming out of key U.S. computer science research programs at the university level. Since our launch, we have donated about 2,500 servers to more than thirty institutions around the world.
The faculty and students of Howard’s Computer Learning and Design Center (CLDC) are doing some impressive technological research, including human-computer interaction, database security, artificial intelligence and mobile engineering. Dating back to its founding in 1911, Howard’s College of Engineering, Architecture and Computer Sciences (CEACS) has led the effort to increase the number of minorities, particularly African Americans, in fields including engineering and computer science. Just this year, Howard University was ranked as the national top producer of African-American bachelor’s degree recipients who went on to earn science and engineering doctoral degrees in the United States.
Our team joined Howard University Provost Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick and Howard University Dean Lorraine Fleming, Ph.D., PE to cut the ribbon on the new Yahoo Data Center. Howard decked out the data center with a fresh coat of purple paint and our new logo to mark the occasion. These new servers represent a significant equipment upgrade to maximize operating performance and speed for students and faculty alike.
We then had the pleasure of participating in an event to mark the occasion with Howard University computer science students and faculty. Tekedra N. Mawakana, Global Head of Public Policy for Yahoo, underscored the importance of this donation to mark Yahoo’s commitment to the local Washington, D.C. community. LaFawn Bailey represented our talent acquisition team and introduced the talented computer science students of Howard to our company culture, emphasizing our focus on attracting and retaining the best talent from around the world to help us in our mission of making people’s daily habits inspiring and entertaining.
We had so much fun connecting with the students and faculty of Howard University today and we’re excited to strengthen our relationship into the future.