BlackBerry is Now Suing Facebook for Copying Its Messaging Technology


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BlackBerry Ltd. filed a lawsuit against Facebook on Tuesday, claiming that the social media giant and its wholly owned apps, Instagram and WhatsApp, infringed on the former smartphone maker’s messaging patents.

“Defendants created 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,” BlackBerry said in its complaint filed with a Los Angeles federal court.

BlackBerry’s spokesperson Sarah McKinney said in an email, “Protecting shareholder assets and intellectual property is the job of every CEO.”

Although the former phone maker claimed that there had been “several years of dialogue” with the social media company, BlackBerry intends to proceed with the case in the interest of its shareholders, McKinney added.

In its 117-page suit, BlackBerry accused Facebook and its subsidiary services WhatsApp and Instagram of copying its patented technology. Cited examples include the cross-platform notifications and capability to share Instagram Stories on Facebook.

Meanwhile, Facebook Deputy General Counsel Paul Grewal expressed the social network company’s clear intention to counter the claim.

In a statement, Grewal said, “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.”

Previously, Facebook executives pointed out that replicating what works is necessary for advancing the tech industry. After all, Facebook wasn’t the pioneer of social media. Remember Friendster and MySpace?

BlackBerry led the innovation of messaging during the time when the cost of sending a simple text message to another country was exorbitant. BlackBerry phones with built-in BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) allowed users to securely send messages globally. Over the years, the easy availability of WhatsApp, Messenger, and Skype on Android and iOS platforms overthrew BBM.

Ultimately, the exclusivity of BBM to BlackBerry handsets resulted in declining phone sales. The company eventually stopped producing phones and sold the brand name to TCL, a China-based electronics maker.

[Featured image via Blackberry]
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