Canada's BlackBerry Ltd. has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram, claiming they took intellectual property from its BlackBerry Messenger technology. The suit was filed Tuesday in U.S. Federal Court in Los Angeles by Quin Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, the very law firm that represented Samsung against Apple in their major patent dispute over the iPhone. BlackBerry's lawsuit is based on seven counts of patent infringement. The particular patents are presented below along with links to each of the USPTO patents.
COUNT 01: INFRINGEMENT OF U.S. PATENT NO. 7,372,961
COUNT 02: INFRINGEMENT OF U.S. PATENT NO. 8,209,634
COUNT 03: INFRINGEMENT OF U.S. PATENT NO. 8,279,173
COUNT 04: INFRINGEMENT OF U.S. PATENT NO. 8,301,713
COUNT 05: INFRINGEMENT OF U.S. PATENT NO. 8,429,236
COUNT 06: INFRINGEMENT OF U.S. PATENT NO. 8,677,250
COUNT 07: INFRINGEMENT OF U.S. PATENT NO. 9,349,120
1. "BlackBerry Pioneers Mobile Messaging - BlackBerry has been 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. BlackBerry's innovations led to the commercialization of some of the earliest models of smartphones in the United States, enabling its users to, among other things, send and receive e-mails securely and surf the internet anytime and anywhere. These same innovations prompted the rise of the smartphone as a necessary everyday accessory for businesspersons and ordinary consumers alike.
2. One example of BlackBerry's innovations is the BlackBerry Messenger technology, which revolutionized instant messaging by providing users with secure, user-friendly, point-to-point instant messaging on their mobile devices. In many respects, through BlackBerry Messenger and other research and development, BlackBerry helped pioneer modern mobile messaging—secure, instant and user friendly on a mobile device. The appeal and success of BlackBerry Messenger led consumers to consider instant messaging functionality as an integral aspect of mobile communications, resulting today in billions of people worldwide engaging in instant messaging over their mobile device.
3. As an innovator, BlackBerry took many steps to safeguard this valuable intellectual property. It received numerous patents protecting the cutting-edge features of its mobile phones, BlackBerry Messenger, and other communications applications that make such products secure, easy-to-use, and ultimately engaging to the end-user, thereby driving user growth and retention.
4. Facebook and its Companies Later Develop Competing Applications that Improperly Use BlackBerry's Mobile Messaging Intellectual Property - Defendants, on the other hand, are relative latecomers to the mobile messaging world. 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. These include the features covered by the Patents-in-Suit.
5. The Patents-in-Suit cover, for example:
(a) Security Improvements—improved cryptographic techniques that establish and maintain security over user messages and provide the requisite trust necessary for user adoption of a messaging platform for their communication needs;
(b) User Interface Improvements For Mobile Devices—including (i) improvements in message notification techniques that streamline and optimize reception of new message notifications that prevent users from being inundated with numerous messaging notifications, (ii) display of timestamps in a messaging user interface that provides users with appropriate temporal context for their communications without overtaking the user's screen with unnecessary information, and (iii) tagging friends and family in social media photographs;
(c) Combining Mobile Gaming And Mobile Messaging—allowing users to more easily interact while playing electronic games; and
(d) Battery Efficient Status Updates for Mobile Devices—improved techniques for transmitting status updates based on whether a second device is viewing the status updates, to reduce power consumption and improve battery life in mobile devices. These features, all invented by BlackBerry, are "table stakes" for modern mobile messaging and social networking.
6. Thus, Defendants have used BlackBerry's own intellectual property to compete with it in the mobile messaging space. These applications are ever expanding, including Facebook Messenger, Facebook Messenger Lite, Facebook Pages Manager, Facebook.com and Facebook Workplace Chat, the WhatsApp Messenger application made by WhatsApp Inc., and the Instagram application made by Instagram, Inc. The importance of mobile messaging is emphasized by the reported $19 billion dollars Facebook spent to acquire WhatsApp.
7. Defendants' Use of BlackBerry's Mobile Messaging Innovations Harms BlackBerry and Provides Undeserved Windfall to Facebook and its Companies—Defendants' use of BlackBerry's invention and infringement of the Patents-in-Suit, has succeeded in diverting consumers away from BlackBerry's products and services and toward those of Defendants. This has resulted in a substantial and undeserved windfall for Defendants as these users drive Defendants' revenue. Defendants' gain comes at BlackBerry's expense, depriving BlackBerry of revenue to which it is entitled as a result of its inventions. Through this suit, BlackBerry seeks redress for the harm caused by Defendants' unlawful use of BlackBerry's intellectual property."
Facebook deputy general counsel Paul Grewal said in an email to Canada's CBC News that "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."
The lawsuit was filed yesterday in the California Central District Court. George H. Wu is the Presiding Judge, with Karen L. Stevenson as the Referring Judge.
About Making Comments on our Site: Patently Apple reserves the right to post, dismiss or edit any comments. Those using abusive language or negative behavior will result in being blacklisted on Disqus.