Yahoo! filed suit against Facebook in a California court on Monday accusing the social networking giant of infringing on 10 patents held by the Internet pioneer.
Yahoo!, in a 19-page lawsuit filed in US District Court for the Northern District of California, accused Facebook of infringing on patents in several areas including advertising, privacy and messaging.
The Sunnyvale, California-based Yahoo! asked the court in San Jose to order Facebook to halt its alleged patent-infringing activities and to assess unspecified damages.
Yahoo!’s lawsuit comes about five weeks after Facebook filed to go public on Wall Street with an estimated valuation of up to $100 billion.
Patent suits are a frequent occurrence among smartphone and tablet computer makers and the world’s best known brands are ensnared in a complex web of legal claims but such suits are relatively rare among social media companies.
Facebook, which was founded in 2004, a decade after Yahoo!, expressed disappointment with the Yahoo! move.
In the suit, Yahoo! said that Facebook’s growth to more than 850 million users “has been based in large part on Facebook’s use of Yahoo!’s patented technology.”
Yahoo! said Facebook’s popular “News Feed” feature, for example, is “directly linked to Facebook’s infringement” of Yahoo! patents and its advertising model is based on advertising patents held by Yahoo!
Once seen as the Internet’s leading light, Yahoo! has struggled in recent years to build a strongly profitable, growing business out of its huge Web presence and global audience.