As one of the first patent cases related to social media, the case will test the enforceability of patents on computer code in a US court.
At the end of 2011, only 56 US patents had been issued to Facebook, compared with more than 1,000 patents filed by Yahoo covering various aspects of its operation.
The disputed patents relate to innovations in online products, including messaging, news feed generation, social commenting, advertising display, preventing click fraud and privacy controls.
The beleaguered internet company alleges that Facebook's entire social networking model is based on Yahoo's patented social networking technology.
Facebook has denied the allegations and said in a statement that it is disappointed that long-time business partner Yahoo has resorted to litigation.
The case echoes Yahoo's decision to sue Google ahead of its public listing in 2004, according to the BBC.
Yahoo sued Google over patents acquired the previous year through its takeover of pay-per-position specialist Overture. Google settled the case by issuing 2.7 million shares to Yahoo.
Analysts have said the case may be an attempt by Yahoo to use a tactic that has worked before to boost the company's finances after consecutive quarters of declining revenues.
In an attempt to win back investor confidence, Yahoo recently overhauled its board and appointed former Paypal executive Scott Thompson to replace Carol Bartz as chief executive.
Yahoo's co-founder, Jerry Yang, also resigned from the board in January. The firm's chairman and three other board members announced their decision to step down shortly afterwards.
Weeks later, Yahoo was reportedly considering another round of job cuts, mainly in public relations, marketing, research, marginal businesses and weaker regional businesses.