After allegedly trying to hold discussions with Facebook for the past “several years,” BlackBerry finally decided to take Facebook to court today, filing a patent infringement lawsuit against the social media giant.
While official court records aren’t available online yet, Variety reports that BlackBerry has accused Facebook of co-opting parts of the company’s mobile messaging tech, and is seeking an injunction that, if granted, could shut down Facebook, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram.
Additionally, BlackBerry is reportedly seeking as-of-yet unspecified monetary damages due to Facebook’s alleged “willful infringement” of BlackBerry’s patents.
Just to be clear, the lawsuit is being filed by the original BlackBerry Limited, which was formerly known as Research in Motion, and not TCL, who currently licenses the BlackBerry brand name to produce recent handsets including the BlackbBerry Key One and BlackBerry Motion.
After largely getting out of the hardware business in 2013, CEO John S. Chen transitioned the company to focus on delivering secure software solutions for enterprise customers. While its not yet clear which patents BlackBerry believes Facebook violated, in a statement given to Variety and others, BlackBerry said:
As a cybersecurity and embedded software leader, BlackBerry’s view is that Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp could make great partners in our drive toward a securely connected future, and we continue to hold this door open to them. However, 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.
[Update 4:30 PM EST] In response to the lawsuit, a Facebook representative responded with an official statement from the company’s deputy general counsel Paul Grewal that said:
“Blackberry’s suit sadly reflects the current state of its messaging business. Having abandoned its efforts to innovate, Blackberry is now looking to tax the innovation of others. We intend to fight.”
The story is developing and we will update it as more information is available.