updated 04:29 pm EDT, Fri May 4, 2012
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Facebook, in the run-up to its much-anticipated initial public offering, has amended its IPO filing four times to reflect new information from its ongoing legal battle with Yahoo. Now the social network has filed a fifth amendment, in which it releases a letter wherein Yahoo claims that Facebook risks violating 16 Yahoo patents in operation of its data centers and servers.
The letter, emailed to Facebook on April 23, warns the social network that Yahoo's proprietary server technology may be featured in Facebook's data center operations. The patents in question concern Web infrastructure, management of multiple web servers, and related topics.
Facebook contends that, in the case of these latest allegations, Yahoo is taking aim not only at Facebook, "but at open source and energy-efficient green technologies" and, subsequently, "forward-thinking companies and engineers." Facebook notes that, while Yahoo has yet to file suit over these claims, the company intends to vigorously defend itself against any potential additional litigation.
The patent struggle between Yahoo and Facebook has heated up in recent months since talks broke down between the two companies and Yahoo demanded a licensing agreement allowing Facebook to use certain of its Web technologies. Some have attributed Yahoo's escalating legal action as an attempt at securing a steady revenue stream ahead of Facebook's IPO. In the wake of Yahoo's legal actions and threats, Facebook has set about procuring a patent portfolio of its own, with a rumored purchase of 750 patents from IBM, as well as a move to secure 650 AOL patents from Microsoft in April. [via ZDNet]