Yahoo sues Facebook for patent infringement

Yahoo is suing Facebook for allegedly infringing on 10 patents, according to a complaint filed on Mar. 12 with the U.S. District Court in San Jose, California. Four of the patents in question relate to methods and technology for advertising, while others relate to privacy, customizing user experiences, social networking and instant messaging. 

“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,” Yahoo said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the matter with Facebook remains unresolved and we are compelled to seek redress in federal court.”

Yahoo claims in its complaint that it is harmed by Facebook’s use of the patented technologies “in a way that cannot be compensated for payment of a royalty alone.” The company further claims Facebook has enjoyed an increased market share using Yahoo technologies while Yahoo has endured the development costs.

The complaint does not state the exact amount Yahoo is seeking from Facebook. Yahoo states in the document it wants Facebook to pay all damages caused by Facebook’s patent infringement and that “such damages be trebled in view of the willful and deliberate nature of the infringement,” in addition to the law suit costs.

Facebook said in a statement: “We’re disappointed that Yahoo, a longtime business partner of Facebook and a company that has substantially benefited from its association with Facebook, has decided to resort to litigation. Once again, we learned of Yahoo’s decision simultaneously with the media. We will defend ourselves vigorously against these puzzling actions.”

In the filed complaint, Yahoo states its advertising patents champion effective methods for generating advertisements associated with individual users that increase revenue for website operators and monitoring advertising clicks for potential click fraud.

“Without Yahoo’s achievements, websites such as Facebook would not enjoy repeat visitors or substantial advertising revenue,” the company stated in the complaint.

Besides the four patents relating to advertising methods and technologies, two other patents center around privacy, including technology allowing users to customize how information is shared; two patents relate to technology that customizes a user’s experience on a site depending on their interests.

The last two patents deal with sharing information online through social networking and communicating through instant messaging technology.  

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