Blackberry Files Lawsuit Against Twitter Over Patent Infringement

BlackBerry Ltd filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Twitter Inc on Wednesday, February 28, 2019.

Filed in the US District Court for Central California, the former mobile giant slapped Twitter with a 98-page complaint calling the micro-blogging social network a “relative newcomer to the mobile messaging world”. The lawsuit accuses Twitter of illegally using six of BlackBerry’s patents which comprises notifications, silencing notifications, push technology and mobile advertising technique.

The former mobile powerhouse claims that “Twitter made mobile messaging applications that co-opt BlackBerry’s innovations, using a number of innovative user interface and functionality enhancing features that made BlackBerry’s products a critical and commercial accomplishment in the first place,” as alleged in the lawsuit.

BlackBerry argues that Twitter, “has diverted consumers away from BlackBerry’s products and services that resulted in a substantial and undeserved windfall.” The lawsuit seeks compensation for the loss of the mobile firm’s revenue and other damages.

Twitter refused to comment on the lawsuit.

In 2018, Blackberry filed a lawsuit against Facebook claiming that the social media giant has infringed seven of BlackBerry’s patents including mobile notifications, security features, user interface features, battery-efficient updates and incorporating messaging with gaming. The social media company said that “Blackberry's suit dejectedly echoes the present state of its business. Blackberry discarded its efforts to innovate. Blackberry is now taxing the innovation of others. We intend to fight.”

A month after suing Facebook, BlackBerry also sued Snap for allegedly copying its patented messaging technology in the Snapchat app.

Over a decade ago, BlackBerry was one of the world’s largest phone makers having BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) as its flagship. BBM offers a more private way to exchange chats and images similar to WhatsApp. However, through the years, BBM has been overpowered by other social networks and text messaging services. The company was put to the grave when consumers gradually shifted to competitors like Apple and Samsung and other Android devices, failing to recover its high status.

The former mobile-maker no longer builds hardware. BlackBerry has started to shift its focus to creating software to manage mobile devices and self-driving cars on 2016. In 2017, BlackBerry unveiled the KEYone smartphone, manufactured by TCL.

BlackBerry CEO John Chen exclaimed that “We have today about 44,000 patents.”

“We also acquired one of the youngest patent portfolios in the whole industry, so monetization of our patents is a significant aspect of our turnaround,” Chen added during the 2015 Waterloo Innovation Summit.

Once a giant, BlackBerry is now becoming a patent troll. The court case is BlackBerry Ltd v Twitter Inc, U.S. District Court, Central District of California, No. 19-01444.

Blackberry CEO: Blackberry Not a Patent Troll

“There is a fine line to being a troll but we do not after it. Otherwise, we would be going after it a lot.” BlackBerry CEO John Chen claims that Blackberry is not becoming a patent troll after his company sued giant companies-Facebook, Snap and most recently Twitter-over patent infringement.

“We are still here kicking,” said Chen boasting how alive his company is after completing a USD 1.4 billion cash acquisition of AI antivirus platform Cylance. BlackBerry’s CEO wants to re-brand the once tech icon as a Cybersecurity company. Purchasing Cylance was the biggest acquisition of Chen since he joined Blackberry in 2013 to steer a turnaround.

After closing the Cylance deal, Blackberry has acquired USD 1 billion in cash and equivalent, which could further be used for more acquisitions. “Normally a billion-dollar software company in security should receive more attention than BlackBerry has now,” Chen said. “But people still think we are a handset company,” he exclaimed.

Even after acquiring Cylance, people still doubt that Mr. Chen can revive Blackberry, “When I prove them wrong, it’ll be more fun,” Chen said.


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