Internet giant Yahoo has decided to sue Facebook, for unspecified damages, for the infringement of 10 or more of its technology patents.
Earlier this year, Yahoo warned Facebook that it would seek legal action if it did not license between 10 and 20 patents on various technologies.
The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court in California makes a case that Yahoo innovated on several fronts that are now common features of the social networking site including messaging, news feed generation, social commenting advertising display, preventing click fraud and privacy controls.
Part of the lawsuit reads, “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.” That’s quite an accusation.
The complaint also reads that Yahoo was founded 10 years before the launch of Facebook in 2004 which has since become one of the most “widely trafficked sites on the internet” and that that growth has been based, in large part, on the innovations of Yahoo.
Facebook issued the following statement, “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.”
The suit comes at an awkward time for both companies as Yahoo attempts to right itself under new CEO Scott Thompson and Facebook is expected to launch an IPO in May to raise $5 billion.
Here are some of the patents that Yahoo is using to sue Facebook – in easy to understand terms:
1. A music station based on what you and your friends listen to
2. Sharing an item only with selected friends
3. A customized homepage
4. Messaging your friends
5. Sending an instant message
6. Placing an ad on a webpage based on what users have done before
7. Using visitor data to screen for spam or fake users
8. Deciding which friends photos to display when a user is logged in
Below is the court document that was filed in California: