BlackBerry has accused Avaya of infringing on eight of its U.S. patents related to mobile communications and has filed a lawsuit against the multi-national tech company. The patents allegedly used by Avaya include 8964849, 8886212, 8688439, 8554218, 737296, 9143801, 8116739, and 7440561 and were filed between 1998 and 2011.
Seeking damages and end of “unlawful conduct”
In the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Dallas on July 27, the Waterloo-based company says the multi-national tech company used its proprietary technology in a number of products. The Canadian firm is seeking to put an end to Avaya‘s “unlawful conduct” and wants to be reimbursed for damages.
In its lawsuit, the Canadian firm said it had demonstrated a commitment to innovation throughout its history, including through its investments in research and development, which over the past five years have totaled more than $5.5 billion.
“BlackBerry has protected the technical innovations resulting from these investments, including through seeking patent protection, and as detailed below, BlackBerry owns rights to an array of patented technologies in the United States,” states the complaint.
On December 17, the Canadian firm wrote to Avaya that it was infringing on its patents. Either the accused company did not respond at all, or the response given by Avaya did not satisfy BlackBerry. Either way, the Waterloo-based company felt the need to safeguard its intellectual property through legal action.
BlackBerry effectively monetizes its patent portfolio
With the litigation, the Canadian firm seems to be entering a new phase of its patent monetization program. BlackBerry holds some 44,000 patents, according to Chief Executive John Chen. In September 2015, Chen pointed out that monetization of their patents is an important aspect of their turnaround as the IP portfolio is one of the youngest patent portfolios in the entire industry.
BlackBerry considers itself a big player in the monetization space after an agreement it signed with Cisco last year. In this agreement, the Canadian firm secured a license fee from Cisco and a cross-licensing deal as well. The Canadian company signed another royalty-bearing deal around the same time with an unnamed company.
Since then, the Waterloo-based company has signed two more deals with International Game Technology and Canon. In addition, the company sold a portfolio of patents for about $50 million to investment firm Centerbridge Partners.
The lawsuit filed by BlackBerry is not brief at more than 100 pages in length, indicating that the company means business. This lawsuit may not grab as much attention as the cases pitting Apple against Samsung, but it is a big deal for the Canadian firm.