Facebook, Yahoo! patent battle heats up
SAN FRANCISCO – A legal battle between Yahoo! and Facebook turned nasty on Friday with the floundering Internet pioneer accusing the rising social network star of buying patents just to retaliate in court.
The accusation came in a 37-page response filed by Yahoo! to a countersuit Facebook filed charging that the Sunnyvale, California-based company is violating the social network’s patents — and not the other way around.
“In retaliation for Yahoo!’s good faith allegations of patent infringement, Facebook alleges infringement of ten patents as counterclaims,” Yahoo! attorney Kevin Smith said in a reply filed in federal court.
“Facebook lacks a good faith basis for most, if not all, of its counterclaims, particularly those patents that it purchased from others.”
Along with asking a judge to rule immediately in its favor on all claims in the cases, Yahoo! wants Facebook to be made to pay its legal costs.
“We remain perplexed by Yahoo’s erratic actions,” a Facebook spokesman said in an email response to an AFP inquiry.
“We disagree with these latest claims and we will continue to defend ourselves vigorously.”
Yahoo! in March filed suit against Facebook in a US district court in San Francisco accusing the social networking giant of infringing on 10 patents.
The Yahoo! suit accused Facebook of infringing on patents in areas including advertising, privacy and messaging and contended that Facebook’s growth “has been based in large part on Facebook’s use of Yahoo!’s patented technology.”
Yahoo! asked the court to order Facebook to halt its alleged patent-infringing activities and to assess unspecified damages.
Facebook, which is shifting operations to a former Sun Microsystems campus in the Northern California city of Menlo Park, denied violating any valid Yahoo! patents.
Facebook went on to accuse Yahoo! of infringing on its patented technology in a broad array of products including online venues for news, games, cars, travel, and photo-sharing service Flickr.
Facebook asked the court to dismiss Yahoo!’s complaint entirely and make the Internet veteran pay damages as well as the social network’s legal costs.
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