Yahoo has demanded licensing fees from Facebook for use of its technology, the companies said on Monday, potentially engulfing social media in the patent battles and lawsuits raging across much of the tech sector.
Yahoo has asserted claims on patents that include the technical mechanisms in the Facebook's ads, privacy controls, news feed and messaging service, according to a source briefed on the matter.
Representatives from the two companies met on Monday and the talks involved 10 to 20 of Yahoo's patents, said the source, who was not aware of what specific dollar demands Yahoo may have made for licenses.
"Yahoo has a responsibility to its shareholders, employees and other stakeholders to protect its intellectual property," the company said.
The meeting between the two companies was first reported by the New York Times.
Should Yahoo wind up suing Facebook, it would mark the first major legal battle among technology giants in the social media sphere and a major escalation of patent litigation that has already swept up the smartphone and tablet sectors and high-tech stalwarts such as Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp and Motorola Mobility.
Yahoo's patent claims follow Facebook's announcement of plans for an initial public offering that could value the company at about $100 billion.
Several social networking companies, including Facebook, have seen an uptick in patent claims asserted against them as they move through the IPO process.
However, most of those lawsuits have been filed by patent aggregators that buy up intellectual property to squeeze value from it via licensing deals, and none by a large tech company such as Yahoo.