BlackBerry sues Facebook and its Apps over patent infringement


Canada-based BlackBerry Ltd, on Tuesday, filed a lawsuit against Facebook Incorporated and its WhatsApp and Instagram apps for patent infringement.

BlackBerry Ltd claimed that Facebook Inc. and its apps had copied technology and features from its messenger application popularly called BBM.

Reuters reports that the litigation over patent infringement is part of John Chen’s (BlackBerry Chief Executive) strategy to make money for the company, which has lost market share in the smartphone market it once dominated.

In a filing with A 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.”

Sarah McKinney, BlackBerry’s spokesperson, in an email said “protecting shareholder assets and intellectual property is the job of every CEO,” and that litigation was “not central to BlackBerry’s strategy.”

She also said the company has an obligation to its shareholders to pursue appropriate legal remedies and that the lawsuit followed years of negotiation.

In response to BlackBerry’s legal action, Facebook disclosed its willingness to fight the lawsuit through the company’s Deputy General Counsel, Paul Grewal, in a statement.

“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,” Mr. Grewal.

Reuters reports that BlackBerry is trying to persuade other companies to pay licensing royalties to use its collection of over 40,000 global patents on technology including operating systems, networking infrastructure, acoustics, messaging, automotive subsystems, cyber-security, and wireless communications.

In February last year, BlackBerry sued Nokia Corporation for alleged infringement of patent regarding a 3G and 4G wireless communications technology. The case is still pending at the Federal Court in Delaware, United States of America.

A confidential settlement was announced by BlackBerry in October 2017 with a Florida-based maker of low-cost mobile devices, Blu Products Inc, which it had also sued for patent infringement.

Also last year, Qualcomm Incorporated agreed to pay the Canada-based company $940 million to resolve arbitration over royalty payments.

BlackBerry is also selling cyber-security software for self-driving cars.

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