(CNET) Yahoo appears to be turning to patent licensing to boost its fortunes.
The foundering Web pioneer is threatening legal action against Facebook if the social-networking giant does not agree to license 10 to 20 patents held by Yahoo, according to The New York Times. The patents at issue relate to advertising, Web site personalization, social networking, and chat services, the newspaper reported, citing unidentified people briefed on the matter.
Yahoo didn't respond to a CNET request for comment but told the Times that, "We must insist that Facebook either enter into a licensing agreement or we will be compelled to move forward unilaterally to protect our rights."
Facebook said it had only just learned of matter and could not comment on the matter without further study.
"Yahoo contacted us at the same time they called the New York Times and so we haven't had the opportunity to fully evaluate their claims," a Facebook representative told CNET.
The news comes as Yahoo has grown increasingly dependent on Facebook for traffic. The two companies announced a new feature last September that
Yahoo's fate has been in a state of flux since in recent months since a leaked memo from Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang indicated the company could be for sale. One of the most storied companies of the Web's first phase, Yahoo has been plagued in recent years by a tepid stock price, high employee attrition rate, and sputtering product development efforts.
The patent claims come at a sensitive time for Facebook, which earlier this month formally declared its intent to raise $5 billion in an initial public offering later this year. Just months before Google's IPO in 2004, the future Web behemoth settled a patent infringement dispute with Yahoo by agreeing to issue 2.7 million shares common stock to its one-time partner.
Patent fights have become a popular source of revenue lately, especially in the smartphone sector. Google recently
Meanwhile, Microsoft has
This article first appeared at CNET under the headline "Yahoo picks patent fight with Facebook."