Yahoo! confirms intent to sue Facebook

Yahoo! has confirmed that it will be suing Facebook for patent infringements.

At present, details are scant on exactly what patents the troubled internet giant feels Facebook has infringed upon and why it has taken so long in filing a suit.

Yahoo! has, however issues an official statement on the issue:

Yahoo! has invested substantial resources in research and development through the years, which has resulted in numerous patented inventions of technology that other companies have licensed. 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. Unfortunately, the matter with Facebook remains unresolved and we are compelled to seek redress in federal court. We are confident that we will prevail.

AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher believes the move is either “the boldest” or “the most boneheaded” gamble in Yahoo!’s history.

The decision to sue comes in the wake of an earlier warning from Yahoo! that it would take action if Facebook continued using what it claimed was its technology without paying licensing fees.

At the time it said:

“Yahoo has a responsibility to its shareholders, employees and other stakeholders to protect its intellectual property,” said a Yahoo! spokesman told the New York Times. “We must insist that Facebook either enter into a licensing agreement or we will be compelled to move forward unilaterally to protect our rights.”

Facebook has issued a statement to TheNextWeb in light of the suit:

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.

According to Swisher, the decision to sue Facebook is being driven by new Yahoo! CEO Scott Thompson.

This is not the first time Yahoo! has taken the legal route, having wrangled with Google back in 2004.

If successful, Yahoo! could put a big dent in Facebook’s still-upcoming IPO. The move seems to have done nothing for Yahoo!’s own stock though.

The beleaguered tech company’s stock is currently trading around the US$14.59 mark, up from its all-time low of $11 but still a world behind its once fierce rival Google, which has a current stock price of just over US$600.



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