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It is Facebook versus Yahoo in patent space

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In its legal battle with Yahoo, Facebook has fired back by accusing the web pioneer of infringing 10 of Facebook’s patents. This counterclaim from Facebook comes after Yahoo sued the company for patent infringement last month.

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This is yet another instance of high-tech stalwarts from smartphone, tablet and other high-tech sectors getting engaged in patent disputes.

Yahoo’s lawsuit against Facebook has came at a delicate time, as the world’s largest Internet social networking service is preparing for an initial public offering that could value the company at up to $100 billion.

Observers have said that companies are usually more vulnerable to patent suits when they are in the IPO process, as investors scrutinise the risks involved in the business.

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But Facebook’s counterclaim comes as Yahoo addresses its own challenges: the Web pioneer has seen declining revenue, and newly installed Chief Executive Scott Thompson is facing a contentious proxy fight with activist hedge fund Third Point.

Eric Berman, Yahoo spokesman said Facebook’s counterclaim is “nothing more than a cynical attempt to distract from the weakness of its defense.”

Facebook General Counsel Ted Ullyot said the company had indicated that it would defend itself vigorously in the face of Yahoo’s lawsuit.

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