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Yahoo Hits Facebook With Patent Suit

Ailing search giant Yahoo follows through on patent threat against Facebook/p>

Yahoo has entered litigation against Facebook, claiming that the social networking site has infringed on more than 10 patents.

Late last month Yahoo demanded licensing fees for the various  privacy, messaging and advertising patents in question, and threatened a lawsuit if Facebook did not comply.

Social network lawsuit

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

The move, which will be a rare tech patent case to concern social networks rather than hardware or software, has broadly been seen as a way for Yahoo to capitalise on Facebook’s impending initial public offering. The search giant used a similar tactic against Google before its stock market flotation and, if Yahoo is successful in its case against Facebook, it could receive compensation in the form of cash or pre-IPO stock.

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

Facebook’s reaction is unsurprising given the number of users it has driven to the ailing search giant. Yahoo’s status as an online leader has long been on the wane with the rise of Google and Facebook, and this lawsuit will be seen as a desperate ploy to profit from the social network amid its turbulent pre-IPO period.