Facebook Inc. is suing BlackBerry Ltd. for patent infringement, escalating the legal battle between the two companies over protected technology.
In a 118-page complaint filed Tuesday in San Francisco federal court, Facebook accused BlackBerry of stealing its voice messaging technology, among other patented processes. Facebook is seeking unspecified damages for infringement of six patents.
The lawsuit also cites infringement of technology that improves how mobile devices deliver graphics, audio and video and centralizes tracking of GPS data. In March, BlackBerry sued Facebook for infringing upon its technology for displaying mobile messages. With its lawsuit, Facebook may have flipped the script on BlackBerry and put the company on the defensive.
BlackBerry was a pioneer of the smartphone and messaging apps for corporate executives and consumers. BlackBerry handsets and BlackBerry Messenger (“BBM”) were wildly popular in the late 2000s. After the handsets lost market share to Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) devices, use of BBM fell off. BlackBerry is now claiming that Facebook subsidiaries Instagram and WhatsApp infringed on BBM patents and certain security features and functionalities.
At this point, potential royalties or legal payouts could be the only way BlackBerry could generate handset revenue. In the company’s most recent quarter, revenue from handsets was $8 million, down over 75% Y/Y. Read more: