Facebook responds to Yahoo with own patent suit

Apr 03, 2012 By BARBARA ORTUTAY , AP Technology Writer

(AP) -- Facebook is stepping up its patent dispute with Yahoo by filing its own lawsuit against the struggling Internet icon.

Facebook's lawsuit Tuesday came just weeks after Yahoo Inc. claimed that Facebook violated 10 patents covering advertising, privacy controls and social networking. Facebook denied Yahoo's allegations and accused Yahoo of violating 10 of its patents covering photo tagging, advertising, online recommendations and more.

The spat is escalating as Facebook prepares for an initial public offering of stock in the coming weeks. If all goes expected, Facebook could fetch as much as $10 billion, gaining a value of $100 billion. Yahoo, which has struggled amid competition from Google and Facebook, has a market value of about $18.3 billion.

There's no immediate threat to either company's services from the lawsuits. These disputes can take months or years to resolve and often lead to settlements in which companies agree to license patents to each other.

Facebook recently acquired 750 patents from IBM Corp. covering technologies that deal with software and networking. At the end of 2011, Facebook had just 56 U.S. patents, which was a relatively small number compared with other big tech companies. Yahoo owns more than 1,000 patents.

It was not immediately clear how many, if any, of Facebook's claims involve patents from IBM. Facebook employees, including CEO Mark Zuckerberg, are listed as inventors of two of the 10 patents. A couple of the others date back several years before Facebook's founding.

Facebook Inc., which is based in Menlo Park, Calif., filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in San Francisco. It is seeking a jury trial and unspecified damages, and for Yahoo's suit to be dismissed.

Facebook said it has been "irreparably harmed" by Yahoo's infringement.

"While we are asserting patent claims of our own, we do so in response to Yahoo's short-sighted decision to attack one of its partners and prioritize litigation over innovation," Ted Ullyot, Facebook's general counsel, said in a statement.

Facebook would not say whether it chose 10 claims to match Yahoo's 10 and had no comment beyond the official statement.

Yahoo, which is based in Sunnyvale, Calif., said it had just received Facebook's lawsuit. The company said the complaint appeared on its face "without merit and nothing more than a cynical attempt to distract from the weakness of its defense."

"As we have made clear from the outset, the unauthorized use of our patented technology is unacceptable and must be resolved appropriately," Yahoo said in its statement. "Other leading companies license these technologies, and Facebook must do the same or change the way it operates."

Yahoo's stock fell 28 cents to close Tuesday at $15.18.

Explore further: Alibaba steals Yahoo's thunder ahead of IPO

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Facebook buys IBM patents

Mar 23, 2012

Facebook confirmed Friday that it has added a trove of IBM patents to its arsenal on an increasingly lawsuit-strewn technology battlefield.

Yahoo! pokes Facebook over patents: report

Feb 28, 2012

Yahoo! has accused Facebook of infringing on 10 to 20 patents and warned the social network to pay licensing fees or prepare for a possible lawsuit, the New York Times reported.

Recommended for you

IBM posts lower 1Q earnings amid hardware slump

1 hour ago

IBM's first-quarter earnings fell and revenue came in below Wall Street's expectations amid an ongoing decline in its hardware business, one that was exasperated by weaker demand in China and emerging markets.

New US-Spanish firm says targets rich mobile ad market

7 hours ago

Spanish telecoms firm Telefonica and US investment giant Blackstone launched a mobile telephone advertising venture on Wednesday, challenging internet giants such as Google and Facebook in a multi-billion-dollar ...

Technip, Heerema win third giant Angolan oil contract

10 hours ago

The ultra-deep Angolan offshore oil project called Kaombo generated the third huge contract in three days on Wednesday when French group Total picked two firms to carry out underwater engineering worth $3.5 billion.

User comments : 0

More news stories

IBM posts lower 1Q earnings amid hardware slump

IBM's first-quarter earnings fell and revenue came in below Wall Street's expectations amid an ongoing decline in its hardware business, one that was exasperated by weaker demand in China and emerging markets.

Microsoft CEO is driving data-culture mindset

(Phys.org) —Microsoft's future strategy: is all about leveraging data, from different sources, coming together using one cohesive Microsoft architecture. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on Tuesday, both in ...

Quantenna promises 10-gigabit Wi-Fi by next year

(Phys.org) —Quantenna Communications has announced that it has plans for releasing a chipset that will be capable of delivering 10Gbps WiFi to/from routers, bridges and computers by sometime next year. ...

Down's chromosome cause genome-wide disruption

The extra copy of Chromosome 21 that causes Down's syndrome throws a spanner into the workings of all the other chromosomes as well, said a study published Wednesday that surprised its authors.

Researchers see hospitalization records as additional tool

Comparing hospitalization records with data reported to local boards of health presents a more accurate way to monitor how well communities track disease outbreaks, according to a paper published April 16 in the journal PLOS ON ...

Ebola virus in Africa outbreak is a new strain

The Ebola virus that has killed scores of people in Guinea this year is a new strain—evidence that the disease did not spread there from outbreaks in some other African nations, scientists report.