Yesterday, March 12, 2012, in a San Jose, Calif. District Court, Yahoo filed a suit against Facebook alleging ten counts of patent infringement. It hasn’t escaped anyone’s notice that the filing comes during the hyper-buzzed buildup to Facebook’s big IPO, which is expected in May, or that both companies are current business partners.
Michael J. de la Merced, writing for the New York Times, reported late last month that representatives from both companies had met to discuss Yahoo’s then-potential suit. At the time, Yahoo stated that it had “a responsibility to its shareholders, employees and other stakeholders to protect its intellectual property,” and that had to “insist that Facebook either enter into a licensing agreement” or that it would “move forward unilaterally to protect [its] rights.”
Reacting to yesterday’s filing, Facebook said: “We’re disappointed that Yahoo, a longtime business partner of Facebook and a company that has substantially benefited from its association with Facebook, has decided to resort to litigation. Once again, we learned of Yahoo’s decision simultaneously with the media. We will defend ourselves vigorously against these puzzling actions.”
The technologies Yahoo is suing over are wide-ranging, and include, as worded in the case file, “messaging, news feed generation, social commenting, advertising displays,” and click fraud prevention and privacy controls. Above, Scott Thompson is seen; Thompson was named CEO at Yahoo only this past January.