Bet you didn’t think you’d hear about BlackBerry today.
The Waterloo-based company, which is now apparently a software firm specializing in cyber security, has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Facebook and its WhatsApp and Instagram apps. BlackBerry alleges the social network conglomerate copied technology and features from BlackBerry Messenger. That’s BBM to you, late Millennials.
“Defendants created mobile messaging applications that co-opt BlackBerry’s innovations, using a number of the innovative security, user interface, and functionality enhancing features,” read BlackBerry’s filing with a Los Angeles federal court.
In an email to Reuters, BlackBerry spokeswoman Sarah McKinney said, “protecting shareholder assets and intellectual property is the job of every CEO.”
For BlackBerry, filing lawsuits over patent infringement has seemingly become the company’s business model. It currently boasts more than 40,000 global patents on technology including operating systems, networking infrastructure, acoustics, messaging, automotive subsystems, cybersecurity and wireless communications.
Facebook, meanwhile, has savagely dismissed the claims and intends to fight the lawsuit.
“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.”
McKinney took a softer approach in addressing Facebook. “We have a lot of respect for Facebook and the value they’ve placed on messaging capabilities, some of which were invented by BlackBerry,” she said. “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.”
BlackBerry’s most recent high-profile litigation came in February 2017 when the company sued Nokia for infringement of patents relating to wireless communications technology. The case remains pending.
In somewhat related news, BlackBerry CEO John Chen was Canada’s highest-paid CEO in 2016 (total compensation: $89.7 million).