Snap secures a major Patent Win Against BlackBerry

Snap has won a significant victory in federal appeals court in a patent lawsuit brought by BlackBerry against Snap, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp.

Paul Hastings LLP successfully defended Snap against BlackBerry’s claims that Snap infringed on six U.S. patents covering its mobile messaging technology. The technology related to methods of deploying targeted advertising and locating “action spots,” among others.

BlackBerry alleged that it had invested billions of dollars over the past decade into research and development, including for its patent portfolio, and the company has brought patent claims in various technology areas. In addition to its suit against Snap, BlackBerry filed a related action against Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp and has sued Twitter and Nokia in recent years.

In June 2018, Facebook and Snap both filed motions to have the patents behind BlackBerry’s patent infringement suit invalidated and thrown out. Both companies saught to have their respective cases dismissed on the grounds the four patents cited by BlackBerry in its complaints were invalid for use in court.

In October 2019, Snap secured summary judgment by the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, which rejected four of BlackBerry’s six patent claims against Snap. The court ruled that BlackBerry’s claims were “abstract ideas” under Section 101 of the Patent Act and therefore not eligible for patent protection. BlackBerry stipulated to a dismissal with prejudice of the remaining two patents, opting to move directly to appeal.

On Dec. 10, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, after briefing and oral argument, affirmed the summary judgment of the district court.

Yar Chaikovsky, global co-chair of the Intellectual Property practice, led the Paul Hastings team representing Snap. The team included partner Chad Peterman and associates David Okano and Berkeley Fife.

“We’re pleased that the facts prevailed,” said Mr. Chaikovsky. “The Federal Circuit got it right in invalidating the asserted claims of these patents.”

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