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Yahoo threatens to sue Facebook over software patents

Yahoo threatens to sue Facebook over software patents



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SALT LAKE CITY — Once a dominant force of the Internet, Yahoo is now resorting to legalities in order to combat the exponential growth of the world's largest social website.

Yahoo is accusing Facebook of infringing on various technology patents, and has threatened to sue the company if it refuses to pay licensing fees.

According to reports made to the New York Times, Yahoo is looking to pressure Facebook into paying the licensing fees for 10 to 20 patents for technologies that include advertising, social networking and messaging.

"Yahoo has a responsibility to its shareholders, employees and other stakeholders to protect its intellectual property," a Yahoo spokesman said in an e-mailed statement. "We must insist that Facebook either enter into a licensing agreement or we will be compelled to move forward unilaterally to protect our rights."


Yahoo has a responsibility to its shareholders, employees and other stakeholders to protect its intellectual property.

–Yahoo spokesman


In a review with investors late last year, Yahoo boasted of its more than 1,000 patents, among which are the 10 to 20 being allegedly infringed upon by Facebook. Additionally, those patents were among the first awarded to Yahoo.

In its statement, Yahoo said that other unspecified web technology companies have already licensed some of the patents in question.

A statement made by Facebook in response to the allegations indicated that the social network was caught a bit off guard.

"Yahoo contacted us at the same time they called the New York Times and so we haven't had the opportunity to fully evaluate their claims," Facebook said.

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Alex Larrabee

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