The legal battle between BlackBerry and Facebook has moved to another level this week. Several months after BlackBerry opened a lawsuit against Facebook, the social network has returned the favour with its own suits.
In March, former smartphone giant BlackBerry filed a lawsuit against WhatsApp. The company says the Facebook-owned messaging service infringed numerous patents from BlackBerry Messenger (BBM).
Facebook seemingly disagrees and has hit back with its own legal filing. Whether this is merely a retaliation remains to be seen, but the company has compiled a 118-page court filing. The document accuses BlackBerry of infringing six patents.
In the filing, the network says BBM stole technology such as GPS algorithms, video and audio delivery tech, and voice-messaging software. Facebook insists these infringements “caused and will continue to cause damage” to its own Messenger service and WhatsApp.
A Case for BBM
For its own part, BlackBerry has previously claimed Facebook infringed the following patents:
- The use of a BlackBerry-invented algorithm for message encryption
- Using icons with numbers to indicate unread messages.
- Tagging people in photos through search boxes that auto-complete people's names
- Adding a timestamp between two consecutive different messages
- The ability to mute a message thread
- Integration of a messaging platform with games for in-game chat
- The algorithm that decide how messages are sent based on the receiver
Those patents are fairly broad. In fact, let's take the icons with number to indicate unread messages. That is a fairly standard way to denote an unread message. Does BBM own numbers and icons? BlackBerry thinks yes, it seems.
At the time, Facebook rubbished the claims:
“Blackberry's [sic] suit sadly reflects the current state of its messaging business. Having abandoned its efforts to innovate, Blackberry [sic] is now looking to tax the innovation of others. We intend to fight.”
It will be interesting to see if BlackBerry takes a similarly dismissive stance against Facebook's counter-suit.