Blundering BlackBerry Sues Facebook For Allegedly Ripping Off Mobile Messaging Patents

Mark Zuckerberg
BlackBerry has seen better days, but it is trying to prove that it still has some life left in it by suing one of the biggest names in tech: Facebook. BlackBerry alleges that Facebook is infringing on its patents relating to BlackBerry Messenger (BBM). According to the Canadian company, it has been in talks with Facebook for several years over coming to an agreement on the use of the patented technology, however, BlackBerry feels that it has come to an impasse.

BBM was an early way for BlackBerry users to send text messages (including images) to other BlackBerry uses while bypassing carrier fees. BBM originated at a time when carriers were still charging customers on a per-message basis, or bundled text messages into expensive packs (i.e. 200 messages for $3.99 per month). Today, mobile users use solutions like WhatsApp, Snapchat, iMessage and other countless platforms to keep in touch.

BlackBerry alleges in the 117-page lawsuit that Facebook is using its technology to enhance its own properties including Messenger and WhatsApp by “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.”

The lawsuit goes on to state that its patents cover "Combining Mobile Gaming and Mobile Messaging" along with "Battery Efficient Status Updates for Mobile Devices" among other things.

BlackBerry wants Facebook to cease operation of Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram for its alleged patent violations. That's seems like a tall order for a company like BlackBerry, which has lost a significant portion of its "muscle" over the years, but the company still seems to believe that a deal might be possible.

"As a cybersecurity and embedded software leader, BlackBerry's view is that Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp could make great partners in our drive toward a securely connected future, and we continue to hold this door open to them," said BlackBerry.

On the other hand, Facebook is defiant in its position, and show no signs relenting. "Blackberry's suit sadly reflects the current state of its messaging business," said Facebook Deputy General Counsel Paul Grewal. "Having abandoned its efforts to innovate, Blackberry is now looking to tax the innovation of others. We intend to fight."