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BlackBerry sues Facebook, claims theft of intellectual property (Updated)

BlackBerry is taking Facebook to court over theft of intellectual property, most likely related to the BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) service.

Published onMarch 6, 2018

UPDATE 03/06/2018, 3:30 P.M. EST: Facebook made a statement regarding this BlackBerry lawsuit. The statement comes from Paul Grewal, the deputy general counsel for Facebook:

“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.”

It seems that Facebook is not mincing words when it comes to this particular lawsuit.

Original Article: Today, in a Los Angeles Federal Court, BlackBerry, Ltd. filed a lawsuit against Facebook, Inc. for infringing a patent on its messaging technology. The lawsuit calls out Facebook Messenger as well as Facebook-owned properties like WhatsApp and Instagram.

According to the lawsuit, BlackBerry has attempted “several years” of dialog with Facebook over the alleged violation of BlackBerry patents. Presumably, those dialogs haven’t been fruitful, and BlackBerry sees no other choice but to take Facebook to court.

Though the specifics of the lawsuit are unavailable, it’s highly likely that the intellectual property patent(s) BlackBerry is suing over relate to its BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) service. Using BBM, BlackBerry users could send messages to each other without using traditional SMS or MMS protocols, a favorite feature in the time before unlimited texting became a given with pretty much any mobile service plan. BBM was eventually ported to Android.

BlackBerry execs: “Mission accomplished” with less-than-a-million phone sold in 2017

However, if BlackBerry is suing Facebook specifically over technology present in BBM, shouldn’t it also be suing Google, Apple, and the many other companies that have similar messaging apps? Or is there something specific about Facebook’s properties that brought on this lawsuit?

Unfortunately, until the full lawsuit transcript goes online, we can only speculate what BlackBerry is after.

As of now, Facebook has made no public comment on the lawsuit. We’ll update this post as soon as any new information surfaces.

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