BlackBerry has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Facebook and its companies WhatsApp and Instagram for their use of instant messaging.
The lawsuit alleges that Facebook “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.”
Some of those aforementioned features include notifications that show the number of unread messages, the display of timestamps, and the act of tagging friends and family in photographs.
In a filing with a Los Angeles federal court, the company stated,
“Defendants created mobile messaging applications that co-opt BlackBerry’s innovations, using a number of the innovative security, user interface, and functionality enhancing features,”
BlackBerry said Facebook and its companies developed “competing applications that improperly used BlackBerry’s mobile messaging intellectual property”.
BlackBerry is asserting seven software patents against Facebook:
- Patent 7,372,961 covers the concept of generating a cryptographic key by choosing a pseudorandom number and then checking if it is “less than order q prior to reducing mod q.” If it is, the key is used. If not, another key is chosen at random and the process repeats.
- Patent 8,209,634 covers the concept of using icons with numeric badges to signal the arrival of new messages.
- Patent 8,279,173 covers the concept of tagging people in photos using an auto-completing search box.
- Patent 8,301,713 covers the concept of marking a significant lull in a text message conversation by inserting a timestamp reflecting the time of the next message.
- Patent 8,429,236 covers the concept of changing how a mobile device sends messages depending on whether they’re being actively read by the recipient’s device. For example, if updates aren’t being read in real time, then the sending device may be able to conserve power by sending messages in batches rather than one at a time.
- Patent 8,677,250 covers the concept of tying a messaging service and a game application together so that a user playing a game can send messages to contacts on the messaging app that includes updates on the player’s progress in the game.
- Patent 9,349,120 covers the concept of muting a message thread.
BlackBerry spokeswoman Sarah McKinney said in a statement,
“We have a strong claim that Facebook has infringed on our intellectual property, and after several years of dialog, we also have an obligation to our shareholders to pursue appropriate legal remedies,”
“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,”
Facebook was in no mood to mix words as Deputy General Counsel Paul Grewal said in a statement that the company intended 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.”
The Full Lawsuit