Yahoo is suing Facebook, accusing the social media giant of building its empire on technology covered by Yahoo's patents.
The web firm has filed a lawsuit claiming infringement of ten patents, and is seeking triple damages and an injunction on Facebook operating services covered by the patents. In the suit, Yahoo claims Facebook's entire social network model is based on technology patented by Yahoo. A successful injunction, however unlikely, could thus require Facebook to effectively shut up shop.
Yahoo’s suit could be a spanner in the works for Facebook’s planned IPO, which could be worth as much as $100 billion (€76 billion).
The move is believed to be spearheaded by Yahoo’s new chief executive Scott Thompson, and is a source of contention within the firm. A number of Yahoo employees are opposed on the grounds that it violates the company's usual strategy of using patents only defensively, All Things Digital reports
Yahoo first threatened to sue Facebook in late February, unless Facebook agreed to license Yahoo's social networking patents.
In a press statement, Facebook expressed disappointment that its long-time partner has “decided to resort to litigation,” complaining that it was told about the possibility of the lawsuit only at the same time as the media.