BlackBerry Sues Facebook, Alleging Messaging Patent Violations

BlackBerry Sues Facebook, Alleging Messaging Patent Violations
Image source: BlackBerry (screen shot from video via YouTube)

BlackBerry has filed a lawsuit against Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp over allegations of patent violation. The Canadian firm states that it has seeking a resolution to the patent dispute for “several years,” but apparently, those efforts have all come to nothing.

Citing online court records, Reuters initially reported on the patent infringement suit brought by BlackBerry, while CNET collected additional information on the lawsuit, including statements from the Canadian firm and from Facebook. The full draft of the lawsuit isn’t available online yet, and no dollar amount was given.

According to CNBC, the lawsuit alleges that Facebook built the integration of its services across all of its platforms on technology patented by BlackBerry. Among the examples given are cross-platform notifications and enabling users of Instagram to post their Stories on Facebook as well.

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BlackBerry said it filed the case today in a Los Angeles court. In a statement, a spokesperson said they feel that Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram could end up being “great partners in our drive toward a securely connected future.” According to CNBC, the company also describes Facebook and its messaging subsidiaries as “relative latecomers to the mobile messaging world.”

However, Facebook General Counsel Paul Grewal dismissed the lawsuit as reflecting “the current state of [BlackBerry’s] messaging business.” He also said that since the Canadian firm has “abandoned its efforts to innovate,” it is now trying to “tax the innovation of others.” Grewal also promised that Facebook will put up a strong legal defense against BlackBerry’s lawsuit.

The company has expended great effort to transform itself into a software firm rather than a smartphone maker, and BBM is a key part of its software success. BBM remains a popular secure messaging app even as the firm’s smartphone brand fades.

Since exiting the smartphone business and licensing its brand to other smartphone makers, the Canadian firm has been placing more and more of an emphasis on its intellectual property. In the final years of in-house phones, analysts and company management alike focused on patent licensing as a key future source of revenue, and sine then, it has sued multiple companies on allegations of patent violation. About a year ago, BlackBerry even filed suit against Nokia over intellectual property.

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