Blackberry has instituted a patent infringement lawsuit against Facebook Inc. and its WhatsApp and Instagram apps. Blackberry Ltd claimed that Facebook Inc and its apps copied the technology and features from its popular messaging app, Blackberry Messenger (BBM). Blackberry is however seeking injunction relief and damages accounting for lost profits.
In a brief filed at the Federal Court in Los Angeles, BlackBerry said:
“Defendants created mobile messaging applications that co-opt BlackBerry’s innovations, using a number of the innovative security, user interface, and functionality enhancing features.”
Meanwhile Facebook’s Deputy General Counsel, Paul Grewal, while reacting to Blackberry legal action 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.”
Not the first time
The lawsuit seems to be one of several by the tech giant, as it seeks to monetize its pool of patents. BlackBerry sued Nokia Corp in February 2017, alleging infringement of patents relating to 3G and 4G wireless communications technology. That case is still pending in federal court in Delaware, USA.
Also, last year Qualcomm agreed to pay BlackBerry $940 million to resolve arbitration over royalty payments. In Oct 2017, BlackBerry announced a confidential settlement with Blu Products Inc, a Florida-based maker of low-cost mobile devices it had also sued for patent infringement.
WhatsApp was founded by Brian Acton and Jan Koum in 2009, and acquired by Facebook in 2104 for $19 billion. The app currently has over 1 billion monthly users, making it one of the most popular in the world.