BlackBerry sues Facebook and its WhatsApp and Instagram apps for patent infringement

BlackBerry says Facebook infringed four of its patents including notification for unread messages.

  • Published: March 7, 2018 12:58 PM IST
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BlackBerry has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Facebook alleging the social network giant of copying its technology and features. The lawsuit also includes Facebook-owned services like WhatsApp and Instagram and BlackBerry says it copied key features of BlackBerry Messenger.

In its lawsuit, BlackBerry claims that Facebook and its wholly owned services like Instagram and WhatsApp are “relative latecomers to the mobile messaging world.” BlackBerry is seeking injunctive relief and damages for lost profits but its release falls short of putting a specific figure to this claimed loss.

The suit claims that Facebook created its messaging applications by co-opting for BlackBerry’s intellectual property, including security, user interface and functionality enhancing features. BlackBerry is seeking damages for infringing four patents and the center of the lawsuit is the notification for unread messages.

It also claims that Facebook’s moves to integrate its service across different platforms like ability to share Instagram Stories directly to Facebook are based on BlackBerry’s patented technology. Facebook Deputy General Counsel Paul Grewal said that the company intends to fight the lawsuit.

“Blackberry’s suit sadly reflects the current state of its messaging business. Having abandoned its efforts to innovate, Blackberry is now looking to tax the innovation of others. We intend to fight,” Facebook general counsel Paul Grewal said in a statement.

BlackBerry Messenger, once the dominant instant messaging platform, has lost to Facebook-owned WhatsApp in the communication space. The Canadian company has also failed to innovate despite bringing the service to competing platform like Android. The lawsuit is widely seen as an attempt the BlackBerry CEO John Chen to make money with its trove of more than 40,000 global patents.

BlackBerry sued Nokia Corp in 2017 alleging infringement of patents relating to 3G and 4G wireless communications technology. It also settled a $940 million patent deal with Qualcomm over royalty payments. The lawsuit against Facebook is seen as an attempt to get the social media giant to agree to patent licensing deal and ensure royalty payment.

BlackBerry has already announced a brand licensing deal with TCL Communications, BB Merah Putih and Optiemus for its mobile devices. It is also selling cybersecurity software for self driving cars.

  • Published Date: March 7, 2018 12:58 PM IST