Yahoo! braces for patent fight with Facebook

28 Feb 2012

Internet giant Yahoo! has demanded unspecified licensing fees from Facebook for the use of its technology and threatened to take the social networking giant to court if the two companies fail to reach an agreement.

The technologies Yahoo! refers to include mechanisms in Facebook’s ads, news feed, privacy controls and messaging service, Reuters reports a source briefed on the case as saying.

The companies’ representatives met yesterday and talked about 10-20 of Yahoo!’s patents.

Yahoo! didn’t elaborate in a statement about details of the talks, but did imply it would take Facebook to court over its patents.

“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! said in the statement. “Yahoo! has a responsibility to its shareholders, employees and other stakeholders to protect its intellectual property.”

A spokesperson for Facebook said Yahoo! contacted the company at the same time it called the New York Times, so Facebook hasn’t had the chance to fully evaluate Yahoo!’s claims.

Yahoo!’s demand comes at a sensitive time for Facebook. The company is preparing to go public in May in what will go down as the biggest IPO in tech history.