Yahoo! Sues Facebook for Patent Infringement

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Yahoo! has done as promised by filing suit today in California Federal Court against the social media giant.

Facebook recently stated in its IPO filing that Yahoo! had threatened suit if they did not come to terms on a licensing agreement for a number of its patents. It appears that an agreement was never reached.

All Things Digital has posted the filing in it's entirety (the embedded document is posted below). They have posted this statement from Yahoo! about the suit:

Yahoo! has invested substantial resources in research and development through the years, which has resulted in numerous patented inventions of technology that other companies have licensed. These technologies are the foundation of our business that engages over 700 million monthly unique visitors and represent the spirit of innovation upon which Yahoo! is built. Unfortunately, the matter with Facebook remains unresolved and we are compelled to seek redress in federal court. We are confident that we will prevail.

Facebook has responded with a short statement to the press:

We’re disappointed that Yahoo’s effort to engage with us was limited to a few short phone calls and that we continue to learn of new developments about a long-time partner through the press. We will defend ourselves vigorously against these puzzling actions.

In 19 pages Yahoo! outlines its basis for filing the suit. According to the complaint for patent infringement:

The patents-in-suit are a reflection of Yahoo's research and development achievements. To build a successful website, users need to have easy access to many functions and tasks such as messaging and privacy options. The website owner needs revenue through functions such as advertising. All of these functions involve Yahoo!'s innovations. Without Yahoo!'s achievements, websites such as Facebook would not enjoy repeat visitors or substantial adverting revenue.

For much of the technology upon which Facebook is based, Yahoo! got there first and was therefore granted patents by the United State Patent Office to protect those innovation. Yahoo! patents relate to cutting edge innovations in online products, including in messaging, news feed generation, social commenting, advertising display, preventing click fraud, and privacy controls. These innovations dramatically improve user experience, privacy, and security and enhance the ability of advertisers to connect with users.

The lawsuit follows Facebook's filing with the SEC for an initial public offering valuing the company at $100 billion.


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