Yahoo has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Facebook, a first in the realms of social media and an extension of the patent feuds already blistering in Silicon Valley between smartphone and tablet makers such as Apple, Microsoft, and Motorola. Yahoo pulled the trigger today following reports last month that the company had been threatening legal action against the social network, proving it wasn’t bluffing.
It was previously reported that Yahoo is accusing Facebook of infringing on 10 to 20 patents covering technologies for advertising and personalization of websites as well as messaging and social networking. Yahoo claims that Facebook has failed to pay licensing fees and although the two companies were reportedly in talks, those negotiations have apparently broken down.
The lawsuit comes shortly following Facebook’s IPO announcement that could value the company at around $100 billion. Although patent lawsuits aren’t uncommon for companies going through the IPO process, especially from patent aggregators often referred to as patent trolls, this is the first time such a claim in the social media realm was launched by a high-profile tech company.
“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.”
Response from Facebook:
“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.”