Facebook amends IPO filing with Yahoo patent suit details

The world's largest social network is filling in regulators -- and potential investors -- about Yahoo's patent infringement allegations.

Facebook filed a third amendment to its $5 billion initial public offering filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission today.

There aren't many changes to speak of -- except that Facebook has included notes about the recent lawsuit that Yahoo handed the social network over patent infringement earlier this month.

Although the suit is not a secret to anyone, at this point, it's a good idea for Facebook to disclose its potential liabilities -- both to the SEC and investors.

Actually, Facebook hinted at a pending legal battle with Yahoo in Amendment No. 2 to its S-1 form, filed on March 7.

In that memo, Facebook admitted that it is "involved in a number of lawsuits." That trend, it acknowledged, is likely to continue as it faces "increasing competition."

Facebook received a letter from Yahoo on February 27 that "alleged that a number of our products infringe the claims of 13 of Yahoo's patents." At the time the second amendment was filed, Facebook was "still in the process of investigating the allegations contained in the letter."

In Amendment No. 3, filed earlier today, Facebook updated the SEC with the following note:

For example, on March 12, 2012, Yahoo filed a lawsuit against us in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California that alleges that a number of our products infringe the claims of 10 of Yahoo's patents that Yahoo claims relate to "advertising," "social networking," "privacy," "customization," and "messaging."

Yahoo is seeking unspecified damages, a damage multiplier for alleged willful infringement, and an injunction. We have not yet filed an answer or asserted any counterclaims, with respect to this complaint. We intend to vigorously defend this lawsuit. This litigation is still in its early stages, and the final outcome, including our liability, if any, with respect to these claims, is uncertain. If an unfavorable outcome were to occur in this litigation, the impact could be material to our business, financial condition, or results of operations.

This story originally appeared at ZDNet's Between the Lines under the headline "Facebook updates IPO filing with Yahoo patent suit."

 

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