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09.06.18

BlackBerry/Facebook Patent Battles Will be Won by Patent Lawyers on Both Sides at the Expense of Technical Staff

Posted in America, Asia, Patents at 6:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Lawyers want to make themselves relevant again, even if by totally frivolous litigation

Blue waves

Summary: Needless patent battles over abstract patents are fought between two companies whose legal departments look for action which is neither needed nor fruitful

SEVERAL months ago BlackBerry started suing again. It sued with software patents, not with anything-hardware related, and it did that in the US, which seems unwise after 35 U.S.C. § 101/Alice. Facebook was one among several targets of these lawsuits.

Facebook’s history with software patents has been mentioned here over the years; it typically responds with patent lawsuits if threatened with lawsuits or ultimately sued.

“Only the lawyers (whose advice was taken when starting this mess) will make a fortune in the process. “The latest (as per this week’s news, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]) isn’t surprising. Facebook is suing back. As BlackBerry and Facebook wrestle in courts over patents take it as a reminder that only lawyers will profit from this. Technical people will be able to do less, as their budget (salaries) may decline and only the “legal” departments will claim that it’s desirable. We saw the same thing in Apple’s battles against Samsung, which lasted many years and resulted in a feeble settlement, obviating the need for any lawsuits (none were necessary in the first place). As someone told me a few hours ago: “This whole notion of patent infringement by Facebook (and others) is a total nonsense. Companies hold large numbers of patents that overlap with those held by other companies. Lawsuits only come out to leverage the other company – either politically or for some trade gain.”

“The underlying patents are software patents which are toothless.”Media that is focused on patenting misses the point. To be fair to Facebook, BlackBerry started it. It’s reactionary/retaliatory for Facebook to sue BlackBerry. As WIPR put it:

Social media platform Facebook continued a patent war with BlackBerry yesterday, after it accused the Canadian company of infringing several inventions, including voice-messaging technology.

The complaint was filed at the US District Court for the Northern District of California.

Facebook alleged that BlackBerry has infringed six patents: US numbers 8,429,231; 7,567,575; 6,356,841; 7,228,432; 6,744,759; and 7,302,698.

The patents protect different technology developed by Facebook including instant voice messaging, telephone service configuration, computer security, personalised multimedia services, and a GPS management system.

Watch how these lawsuits go almost nowhere and likely result in some undisclosed (to the public) settlement that is beneficial (or desirable) to neither company. Only the lawyers (whose advice was taken when starting this mess) will make a fortune in the process. The underlying patents are software patents which are toothless.

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