Facebook uses Zuckerberg patent to countersue Yahoo

Facebook has responded to a ten patent lawsuit from Yahoo by asserting ten patents of its own — including two that list CEO Mark Zuckerberg as the inventor.

The new development was revealed in a court filing in which Facebook not only denied Yahoo’s allegations but asserted patent infringement claims of its own.

The filing pours gasoline on what is shaping up to be an epic fight between a young, ascendant Silicon Valley company and a fading veteran that is turning to its patent portfolio in hopes of survival.

Yahoo raised the ire and ridicule of powerful investors like Fred Wilson and Mark Cuban last month when it invoked seemingly-obvious patents to say that it, not Facebook, invented the social network.

In a widely publicized deal, Facebook recently acquired a license to hundreds of IBM patents to buttress its own portfolio.

Facebook’s counterclaim includes ten patents that represent eight acquisitions and two in-house inventions. The latter includes one for a “method of tagging digital media” that lists Mark Zuckerberg as lead inventor.

Facebook’s rapid response suggests the company is spoiling for a fight. Ordinarily, a defendant in major litigation will use procedural tactics to delay filing its defense or counterclaim.

Facebook may be stoking calls for patent reform that are bubbling up in response to a new wave of lawsuits based on seemingly obvious inventions.

As for Yahoo, the company is following the familiar steps of companies like Kodak that turn to patent licensing when the sun has set on their innovation phases.