HAS-BEEN SMARTPHONE MAKER BlackBerry has filed a lawsuit in the direction of Facebook, claiming the firm infringes on patents related to BlackBerry Messenger (BBM).
The lawsuit, filed by TCL on behalf of BlackBerry at the Los Angeles US District Court, accuses Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp of basing their messaging tools on technology ripped off from BBM.
In a statement given to Reuters, BlackBerry says that it's turned to legal action after "several years" of unsuccessful dialogue with the social media giant.
Facebook and its subsidiaries "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's contends.
The Canadian firm claims that Facebook has stamped on seven of its patents in total, all of which helped the social media giant pull customers away from BlackBerry's business, according to the lawsuit.
These patents relate to cryptographic key generation, using icons with numeric badges to signal the arrival of new messages and the mixing of mobile gaming and mobile messaging.
"In many respects, through BlackBerry Messenger and other research and development, BlackBerry helped pioneer modern mobile messaging," the lawsuit argues.
BlackBerry has asked the court to address Facebook's "unlawful use of BlackBerry's intellectual property", which could require the firm to dramatically overhaul, or even shut down its messaging apps.
It's more likely, however, that the outcome will see the firms sign a licensing deal out of court, with BlackBerry saying in a statement that it "continues to hold the door open" to Facebook.
"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," the firm added.
In a statement, Facebook has said it plans to "fight", likely a sign that the firm will attempt to get some of these patents thrown out as invalid
Paul Grewal, Facebook's deputy general counsel, said in a statement: "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." µ
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