Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO:US) accused Facebook Inc. (FB:US) of retaliating against a patent-infringement lawsuit by buying patents that the social networking site used as the basis for its countersuit against the Web portal company.
Facebook bought the patents after it was sued by Yahoo in March and then countersued over the newly acquired technologies as payback for the original lawsuit, Yahoo said in a filing today in federal court in San Jose, California.
Of the 10 patents at issue in Facebook’s counterclaims, “several” were purchased from patent licensing or holding companies after Yahoo’s complaint was filed and some were “tainted,” the Sunnyvale, California-based company said in the filing. A federal judge should invalidate the Facebook patents and dismiss the company’s counterclaims, Yahoo said.
“Many, if not all, of these patents were acquired by Facebook for purposes of retaliation against Yahoo! in this case,” said the owner of the largest U.S. Web portal.
Some of the patents are enforceable because they were doctored and failed to name all inventors, Yahoo said.
Jonathan Thaw, a spokesman for Menlo Park, California-based Facebook, said the company will continue to defend itself vigorously.
“We remain perplexed by Yahoo’s erratic actions,” Thaw said in an e-mail.
Facebook, operator of the biggest social-networking site, accused Yahoo of infringing 10 patents through its home page and Flickr photo-sharing service and in ads displayed throughout its site. The claims were made to counter patent-infringement allegations Yahoo filed March 12 against Facebook.
Facebook didn’t invent technologies claimed in eight patents it sued over, which it bought from patent holding companies or patent aggregators, Yahoo’s lawyers said in today’s filing.
The case is Yahoo! Inc. v. Facebook, 12-cv-01212, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).
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