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Facebook files patent countersuit against Yahoo

The social network launched a counter lawsuit today against Yahoo accusing the company of violating patents covering photo tagging and advertising.

Image: AP Photo/Paul Sakuma

FACEBOOK IS STEPPING up its patent dispute with Yahoo by filing its own lawsuit against the struggling Internet icon.

Facebook’s lawsuit today came just weeks after Yahoo claimed that Facebook violated ten patents covering advertising, privacy controls and social networking.

Facebook denied Yahoo’s allegation in today’s filing and accused Yahoo of violating ten of its patents covering photo tagging, advertising, online recommendations and more. Facebook said it has been “irreparably harmed” by Yahoo’s infringement.

“While we are asserting patent claims of our own, we do so in response to Yahoo’s short-sighted decision to attack one of its partners and prioritise litigation over innovation,” Ted Ullyot, Facebook’s general counsel, said in a statement.

Yahoo said it had just received Facebook’s lawsuit. The company said the complaint appeared on its face “without merit and nothing more than a cynical attempt to distract from the weakness of its defense.”

“As we have made clear from the outset, the unauthorised use of our patented technology is unacceptable and must be resolved appropriately,” Yahoo said in its statement. “Other leading companies license these technologies, and Facebook must do the same or change the way it operates.”

Facebook recently acquired 750 patents from IBM Corp. that cover technologies that deal with software and networking. At the end of 2011, Facebook had just 56 U.S. patents, a relatively small number compared with other big tech companies. Yahoo Inc. owns more than 1,000 patents.

Facebook Inc., which is based in California,  filed the lawsuit in federal court in San Francisco. It is seeking a jury trial and unspecified damages, and for Yahoo’s suit to be dismissed.

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