New Patent Battle: BlackBerry Sues Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp
BlackBerry is suing Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp for violating patents related to its BlackBerry Messenger mobile app.
In its complaint, BlackBerry says that it has been an innovator in mobile communications for 30 years and that its BlackBerry Messenger service "revolutionized instant messaging by providing users with secure, user-friendly, point-to-point instant messaging on their mobile devices".
BlackBerry goes on to accuse Facebook, as well as WhatsApp and Instagram (which Facebook owns) of co-opting its 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 complaint specifically mentions tagging people in photos, combining mobile gaming and messaging, use of cryptographic techniques for security, and status updates designed to optimize battery life.
BlackBerry claims ownership of many messaging features, including the use of numerals over icons to show the number of conversations with unread messages
In a statement, Blackberry said: "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."
We Intend To Fight
Facebook's response was less diplomatically phrased. In a tweet to Cheddar, the social network's vice president and deputy general counsel Paul Grewal said: “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.”
Grewal is no stranger to tech IP battles. A former US magistrate, he joined Facebook's legal team in 2016 after overseeing cases including the vicious Apple vs Samsung patent fight.
With so many interface and security patents involved, and such well-equipped legal teams on both sides, this latest IP dust-up could be just as brutal.
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