Facebook Fires Back at Yahoo! in Patent Fight

MENLO PARK, Calif. ( TheStreet) -- Facebook has fired back at Yahoo! ( YHOO), filing a counter-claim in the escalating patent dispute between the two firms.

Yahoo! filed a lawsuit against Facebook last month, accusing its long-standing partner of patent infringement. The lawsuit detailed patents related to messaging, social networking, privacy, customization and advertising.
Facebook has filed a counterclaim against Yahoo! in the companies' patent fight.

Facebook, however, struck back at Yahoo! on Tuesday, filing counter-claims against the embattled Internet giant.

"From the outset, we said we would defend ourselves vigorously against Yahoo's lawsuit, and today we filed our answer as well as counter-claims against Yahoo for infringing ten of Facebook's patents," explained Ted Ullyot, the Facebook General Counsel, in a statement emailed to TheStreet. "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 prioritize litigation over innovation."

In its lawsuit, Facebook alleges that Yahoo! services such as Flickr infringe a patent for generating a feed of stories personalized for members of a social network.

Yahoo!, however, shrugged off Facebook's claims.

"We have only just received Facebook's answer and counterclaims, but on their face we believe they are without merit and nothing more than a cynical attempt to distract from the weakness of its defense," explained a Yahoo! spokesman, in an email to TheStreet. "As we have made clear from the outset, the unauthorized use of our patented technology is unacceptable and must be resolved appropriately. Other leading companies license these technologies, and Facebook must do the same or change the way it operates."

Yahoo! shares fell 31 cents, or 1.97%, to $15.15 in late trading on Tuesday.

-- Written by James Rogers in New York.

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