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BlackBerry takes Facebook to court with patent suit

08 March 2018
BlackBerry takes Facebook to court with patent suit

Since BlackBerry lost its foothold on the smartphone market some years ago, it has also accused Nokia of patent infringement, as well as settled its own allegations of infringement with the aforementioned company and NTP among others.

Facebook, as expected, has come out with intent to fight the lawsuit - while somewhat accusing the company of giving up on trying to stay relevant.

The lawsuit begins by summarizing and categorizing Blackberry as a "leading innovator in the field of mobile communications for the past 30 years, having invested substantial sums into research and development of communications technologies".

At the core of the filing, which is a total of 117 pages, is the company's proprietary messaging product Blackberry Messenger, otherwise known as BBM.

Those include the likes of mentioning the number of unread messages on the app icon along with the idea of offering gaming options from right within the messaging app itself. The lawsuit calls out Facebook, WhatsApp as well as Instagram for their use of instant messaging.

Blackberry is claiming infringement on patents it holds for message encryption and notifications.

Facebook of course intends to fight the lawsuit and will likely argue that some of BlackBerry's BBM patents should be invalidated.

Specifically, BlackBerry claims Facebook and its subsidiaries are violating 7 of its patents.

BlackBerry filed the lawsuit Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. A former USA magistrate, he joined Facebook's legal team in 2016 after overseeing cases including the vicious Apple vs Samsung patent fight.

Though BlackBerry was once a leader in smartphone hardware and software, the company based in Waterloo is no longer a smartphone manufacturer.

The main issue in this legal battle seems to be over how Facebook's messaging services look and operate. On the other hand, BlackBerry past year reached a settlement with Qualcomm under which the former agreed to pay $940 million to BlackBerry in order to resolve a dispute over royalty payments.

In 2014, the US Supreme Court made it much harder to enforce software patents, essentially saying that taking established ways of doing business and putting them on a computer shouldn't be considered new intellectual property.

Matt Jones, partner at Intellectual Property law firm EIP, commented: "It is surprising to see such an array of negative opinions towards the action being taken by BlackBerry against Facebook".