Yahoo goes after Facebook with patent claims

Yahoo claims Facebook is infringing on 10 to 20 of its patents and threatens a lawsuit against the social network if it doesn’t agree to pay licensing fees, according to the New York Times.

The timing of the claim is reminiscent of when Yahoo took similar action against Google just before the search company’s initial public offering. This led Google to settle and award Yahoo with several million shares of pre-IPO stock. Facebook could be put in the same sort of bind.

The news comes across as oddly malicious of Yahoo, which seems to be benefiting from Facebook login and Open Graph integration. Yahoo is consistently one of the top ranking apps in our AppData tracking service, and Facebook has been pointing to Yahoo as an example of how other media companies can drive traffic and boost engagement by integrating its platform.

But with Facebook eating away at Yahoo’s display advertising revenues and contributing to the demise of the company’s other services like photo sharing, messenger and email, the web portal decided to be more aggressive in its attack. Yahoo apparently broke the news to the New York Times at the same time it informed Facebook. A spokesperson from Facebook said Monday night that the company had not fully evaluated Yahoo’s claims.

Facebook owns dozens of patents, including some it strategically acquired from Friendster in 2010. So far the social network has used these patents as protection, not to go on the offense as Yahoo has done.

Facebook did not respond to additional requests for comment today.

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