BlackBerry sues Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram for patent infringement
In a surprising development, Blackberry has sued Facebook for patent infringement. The Canadian enterprise major and erstwhile smartphone maker has alleged that Facebook and its subsidiaries including WhatsApp and Instagram infringe on patents that were first developed for BlackBerry Messenger (BBM). The 117-page suit claims,
Defendants created mobile messaging applications that co-opt BlackBerry’s innovations, using a number of the innovative security, user interface, and functionality enhancing features that made BlackBerry’s products such a critical and commercial success in the first place."
The patents in contention include —
- Method of public key generation
- User interface for selecting a photo tag
- Previewing a new event on a small scale device
- Handheld electronic device and associated method providing time data in a messaging environment
- Transmission of status updates responsive to status of recipient application
- System and method for switching between an instant messaging conversation and a game in progress
- System and method for silencing notifications in a message thread
In a statement to The Register, BlackBerry said,
We have a lot of respect for Facebook and the value they’ve placed on messaging capabilities, some of which were invented by BlackBerry. As a cybersecurity and embedded software leader, BlackBerry’s view is that Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp could make great partners in our drive toward a securely connected future, and we continue to hold this door open to them.
However, we have a strong claim that Facebook has infringed on our intellectual property, and after several years of dialogue, we also have an obligation to our shareholders to pursue appropriate legal remedies."
Facebook is not taking things lightly in its stride either. The popular social networking platform's Deputy General Counsel, Paul Grewal, has responded in a statement saying,
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."
This is, however, not the first instance of BlackBerry taking legal recourse. Last year, BlackBerry sued Nokia for infringing 11 of the former's patents related to mobile network technologies.
Given the ubiquity of all the messaging platforms mentioned, the case is more likely to result in a compromise between the said parties rather than turning out to be an all out legal war.