BlackBerry is suing Facebook for patent infringement on the claim that the social media company’s messaging services use BlackBerry intellectual property without permission.
Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram have all benefited from patented technology that was originally used for BlackBerry Messenger, the company said in a lawsuit filed in a California court on Tuesday.
The technologies include “cryptographic techniques” to secure the mobile messages and user interface improvements found in the application itself. Some are more basic, like a patent for the way icons can preview the number of unread messages you’ve received by displaying a tiny number.
In total, BlackBerry accuses Facebook of infringing on seven of its patents—all of which helped the social media giant pull customers away from BlackBerry’s business, the lawsuit claims. “In many respects, through BlackBerry Messenger and other research and development, BlackBerry helped pioneer modern mobile messaging,” according to BlackBerry.
BlackBerry is demanding damages and an end to the patent violations. But in a statement to PCMag, the company also said it would like to partner with Facebook—as long as it honors BlackBerry’s patents.
“We continue to hold this door open to them,” BlackBerry said. “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 doesn’t plan on cooperating. “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. We intend to fight,” Facebook deputy general counsel Paul Grewal said in an email.
BlackBerry has certainly seen better days. Over 10 years ago, the company was one of the top smartphone vendors in the world. But its popularity dramatically declined amidst a disastrous BlackBerry 10 rollout and the rise of iOS and Android. In 2016, the company shuttered its smartphone division, and inked a deal with Chinese vendor TCL to build phones branded with the BlackBerry name.
By Michael Kan