BlackBerry Ltd. filed a lawsuit in US Federal Court on Tuesday that accused tech giants Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp of stealing intellectual property from BlackBerry Messenger. The 117-page lawsuit claims that the three companies created applications that infringe on BlackBerry Messenger patents and a jury trial has been requested. Financial compensation is being sought, but a dollar figure hasn’t been disclosed.
BlackBerry is specifically accusing the defendants of “creating 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.”
It’s interesting that BlackBerry is targeting all three entities as Facebook owns both Instagram, a photo and video sharing social app, and WhatsApp, a messaging and VoIP (voice-over-internet-protocol) service.
“We have a lot of respect for Facebook and the value they’ve placed on messaging capabilities, some of which were invented by BlackBerry,” said Sarah McKinney, head of public relations and corporate communications at BlackBerry. She went on to imply that a partnership between the companies would be ideal. “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. However, we have a strong claim that Facebook has infringed on our intellectual property, and after several years of dialogue, we also have an obligation to our shareholders to pursue appropriate legal remedies.”
Facebook responded, in no uncertain terms, that it will fight BlackBerry’s claims. “BlackBerry’s suit sadly reflects the current state of its messaging business,” said Facebook’s deputy general counsel Paul Grewal. “Having abandoned its efforts to innovate, BlackBerry is now looking to tax the innovation of others. We intend to fight.”
A lot of financial income for BlackBerry has been through licensing patents and technology to larger companies, but Facebook has apparently been unreceptive in the last few years.
Source: CBC News