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BlackBerry suing Facebook for patent infringement

Posted at 3:20 PM, Mar 06, 2018

The old king of mobile messaging is coming after the new king.

BlackBerry filed a lawsuit in California on Tuesday against Facebook, along with its subsidiaries WhatsApp and Instagram, for infringing on its messaging patents.

BlackBerry claims in the lawsuit that the social media companies developed messaging applications that "co-opt BlackBerry's innovations" by using patented features touching on security, the user interface, and battery life.

"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," a spokesperson for BlackBerry said in a statement provided to CNN.

Facebook brushed off the suit as little more than a desperate move from a fading company.

"Blackberry's suit sadly reflects the current state of its messaging business," Paul Grewal, Facebook's deputy general counsel, said in a statement. "Having abandoned its efforts to innovate, BlackBerry is now looking to tax the innovation of others. We intend to fight."

Related: Is BlackBerry making a comeback?

BlackBerry was an early leader in the messaging market with the success of its smartphones and BlackBerry Messenger product in the mid-2000s.

The patents cited in the lawsuit describe foundational elements of today's messaging services. One patent deals with notifications for the total number of unread messages. Other patents address photo tagging and messaging time stamps.

BlackBerry is seeking unspecified monetary damages. It also appears to be seeking a partnership.

"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," the spokesperson said in the statement. "We continue to hold this door open to them."

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