Facebook Now Suing BlackBerry Over Voice-Messaging Tech Theft

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Facebook has now seemingly gone on the offensive in an ongoing patent dispute between the social media giant and BlackBerry, filing its own legal suit alleging that as many as six of its patents were stolen by the smartphone company. Among those, Facebook has claimed that a voice messaging technology invented by the company has been used by BlackBerry without permission as well as a method for improving delivery of audio, video, and imagery on mobile devices. The social media company accuses BlackBerry of stealing tech that centers around both the tracking and analysis of GPS data. At present, Facebook hasn’t committed to a specific amount of damages it expects to be awarded if its suit turns out to be successful. The case is currently filed with the U.S. District Court Northern District of California under docket number 3:18-cv-05434.

This case actually follows another ongoing dispute between the two companies, filed with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in March under docket number 2:18-cv-01844. In that particular case, BlackBerry accused Facebook and its subsidiaries of infringing on its patents associated with mobile messaging. Those patents included messaging-related features such as in-message timestamps and notification badges. Facebook, for its part, responded initially by accusing the company of patent trolling as a way to compensate for a lack of internal innovation. Meanwhile, at least one of BlackBerry’s patents tied to its own case against Facebook has since been invalidated. In particular, the company’s messaging timestamp patent was directly challenged by Google recently and dismissed after the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) ruled the UI element in question was unpatentable.

For the time being, none of those previous filings from BlackBerry are expected to go to court until at least 2020 and the remaining patents surrounding the earlier case have not been addressed. The same can also be said of yet another patent case filed by BlackBerry against Nokia which alleges that the company utilized networking technologies that were also patented by BlackBerry. So a similar time-frame for Facebook’s newly docketed complaint against the company can probably be expected.