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Yahoo Sues Facebook

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Yahoo Sues Facebook Over 10 Patents

by Todd Wasserman

Yahoo on Monday made good on its promise to sue Facebook, alleging in a complaint that Facebook violated 10 patents.

The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court in San Jose, Calif., makes a case that Yahoo innovated on several fronts, including messaging, news feed generation, social commenting advertising display, preventing click fraud and privacy controls.

“Facebook was not launched until 2004, 10 years after Yahoo was founded,” the complaint reads. “Facebook has since grown to be one of the most widely trafficked sites on the Internet. That growth, however, has been based in a large part on Facebook’s use of Yahoo’s patented technology.”

The complaint also quotes Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg as acknowledging that “getting there first is not what it’s all about.” Further on, it states, “Facebook’s entire social network model, which allows users to create profiles for and connect with, among other things, persons and businesses, is based on Yahoo’s patented social networking technology.”

Yahoo’s suit, which seeks unspecified damages, comes at an awkward time for Facebook. The social networking giant is expected to launch an IPO in May to raise $5 billion. Yahoo, meanwhile, risks being seen as desperate in engaging in patent trolling as its revenues and market share continue to slip.

The suit comes after Yahoo and Facebook were apparently unable to work out an agreement over the issue. Yahoo was in talks with Facebook over its patent claims last month, according to a report in The New York Times. At the time, Yahoo was threatening a lawsuit if Facebook didn’t pay licensing fees, according to the report.

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