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Facebook Messaging Apps (including WhatsApp) & BlackBerry In Patent War

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BlackBerry recently obtained a number of patents injunctions against WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook regarding chat features. A patent based injunction prohibits an infringer from stepping on the rights of the patent owner.

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Effectively this would mean BlackBerry could get WhatsApp and the other violating apps banned in the territories in which they have been judged as violating the patent – in this case that’s Germany.

BlackBerry accuses Messenger, WhatsApp and IG of using 5 of its patent:

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  • showing two chat histories in parallel
  • automatically identifying user profiles containing partly identical data
  • sharing messages from the chat history
  • displaying chat history while the text is being edited
  • chatting during gameplay

Fosspatents – a blog that covers patent news- was particularly surprised that the court didn’t issue stay orders 4 of the 5 arguments that BlackBerry made:

I am stunned that the court didn’t stay all five cases over serious doubts concerning the validity of those patents. When I looked at the claims of the patents-in-suit earlier this year, I quickly concluded that they’d all be highly likely to be annulled by the Federal Patent Court of Germany (which also happens to be based in Munich, which is sort of the Capital of the Patent Movement, at least for Europe). That’s partly because software as such isn’t patent-eligible in Europe.

The blog claims that BlackBerry had to narrow multiple claims in the suit in order to avoid the court’s concern over non-novelty (i.e the features BB were claiming aren’t exclusive/unique to them).

Initially, there were fears that the apps would be banned in Germany but this seems to be an extreme outcome that won’t happen since workarounds have already been prepared


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