Yahoo Sues Facebook Over Patent Infringement

Yahoo has filed a suit in a San Jose court against social networking behemoth Facebook, alleging that the company has been guilty of infringing on its patents.

The lawsuit cites 10 different Yahoo patents, without which according to the company, "websites such as Facebook would not enjoy repeat visitors or substantial advertising revenue."

Not only does that hint at other potential lawsuits targetting other social networking services (Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest?) but it also shows that Yahoo has opted for the lawsuit as a last resort attempt to pull in revenue.

As Facebook said in a statement, Yahoo, is a longtime business partner which has "substantially benefited from its association with Facebook". A company spokesperson said that they learnt from Yahoo's decision from the media itself.

Facebook is accused of infringing four advertising patents, two privacy patents, two customization patents, one social networking patent, and one messaging patent.

Yahoo claims that "For much of the technology upon which Facebook is based, Yahoo got there first and was therefore granted patents by the United States Patent Office to protect those innovations," before adding that "Prior to adopting Yahoo's patented social networking technology in 2008, Facebook was considered one of the worst performing Internet sites for advertising".

Facebook is now bigger than Yahoo in the US when it comes to display advertising according to web analyst eMarketer. Revenue for the company grew to 14 percent in 2011, more than 400 per cent growth since 2008. In comparison, Yahoo's revenue from display advertising shrunk by around 40 per cent over the same period.