Yahoo is suing the social networking giant Facebook over 10 patents that include ways to advertise on the Web.
The lawsuit filed in San Jose federal court Monday marks the first major patent battle in social networking. It comes as Facebook prepares to go public this spring in one of the most hotly anticipated stock market debuts in years.
"Yahoo has invested substantial resources in research and development through the years, which has resulted in numerous patented inventions of technology that other companies have licensed," a Yahoo spokesman said in an emailed statement. "Unfortunately, the matter with Facebook remains unresolved, and we are compelled to seek redress in federal court."
"We're disappointed that Yahoo, a longtime business partner of Facebook and a company that has substantially benefited from its association with Facebook, has decided to resort to litigation," the a Facebook spokesman said.
Two of the 10 patents at issue are related to social networking technology. Most focus on online advertising, including methods for preventing "click fraud," as well as privacy and technology for customizing the information users see on a Web page.
The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California is Yahoo Inc. v. Facebook Inc., 12-cv-1212.