from the those-who-can't-innovate,-litigate dept
BlackBerry (under its original name RIM) was always a bit of a patent troll. While it did have some early innovations in the mobile device space, and had popular actual products on the market for a while, it always had a habit of vindictively suing any company that seemed to be offering anything remotely similar to its products. Perhaps the company should have spent more time focused on its actual product rather than suing for patent infringement. Otherwise, its market share chart wouldn’t have looked like this, courtesy of Statista:
However, now that its business of selling actual products has bottomed out, it’s gone back to its earlier focus of suing totally random companies for doing fairly obvious things, and claiming that they violate Blackberry’s patents. Last year, we covered its silly lawsuit against Facebook that only got them hit with an equally silly countersuit from Facebook.
And now BlackBerry has sued Twitter as well (incredibly, TechCrunch — and nearly all other publications writing about this — did not actually post the filing, but you can find it here). The lawsuit is completely silly, and should be embarrassing and shameful for Blackberry and its high priced lawyers (who know better). It claims that it invented “mobile messaging” and that Twitter, as a “latecomer” to the market, has “diverted” people away from Blackberry.
BlackBerry Pioneers Mobile Messaging – BlackBerry has been a leading innovator in the field of mobile communications for the past 30 years, having invested substantial sums into research and development of communications technologies. BlackBerry?s innovations led to the commercialization of some of the earliest models of smartphones in the United States, enabling its users to, among other things, send and receive e-mails securely and surf the internet anytime and anywhere. These same innovations prompted the rise of the smartphone as a necessary everyday accessory for businesspersons and ordinary consumers alike.
One example of BlackBerry?s innovations is the BlackBerry Messenger technology, which revolutionized instant messaging by providing users with secure, user-friendly, point-to-point instant messaging on their mobile devices. In many respects, through BlackBerry Messenger and other research and development, BlackBerry helped pioneer modern mobile messaging?secure, instant and user friendly on a mobile device. The appeal and success of BlackBerry Messenger led consumers to consider instant messaging functionality as an integral aspect of mobile communications, resulting today in billions of people worldwide engaging in instant messaging over their mobile devices.
Lots of folks developed mobile messaging, mostly by taking fairly obvious cues from existing computer messaging and email, which was created decades earlier, often borrowing from other types of messages, like the physical mail. There was no magic invention in taking messaging “mobile” that deserves any sort of patent. But then to suggest that Twitter “copied” Blackberry is laughable as well:
Defendant, on the other hand, is a relative latecomer to the mobile messaging world. Defendant created mobile messaging applications that co-opt BlackBerry?s innovations, using a number of the innovative user interface and functionality enhancing features that made BlackBerry?s products such a critical and commercial success in the first place.
Even more insane: claiming that Twitter’s messaging features somehow drive users away from Blackberry — a company whose business dried up for tons of reasons having absolutely nothing to do with Twitter.
Defendant?s use of BlackBerry?s inventions, and infringement of the Patents-in-Suit, has succeeded in diverting consumers away from BlackBerry?s products and services and toward those of Defendant. This has resulted in a substantial and undeserved windfall for Defendant as these users drive Defendant?s revenue. Defendant?s gain comes at BlackBerry?s expense, depriving BlackBerry of revenue to which it is entitled as a result of its inventions.
Oh come on, Blackberry. Don’t make me laugh. Actually, clearly, Blackberry does want me to have a good chuckle, because check out these “innovations” it claims are oh so precious and unique to Blackberry:
User Interface Improvements For Mobile Devices?including (i) improvements in message notification techniques that streamline and optimize reception of new message notifications that prevent users from being inundated with numerous messaging notifications, (ii) resetting a new message indicator when a user accesses their inbox list of messaging conversations, which saves users from having to individually view each conversation in which there is a new message in order to reset their new message indicator;
(b) Messaging and Social Networking Improvements for Mobile Devices? including (i) improved techniques for determining whether a recipient has read messages in a conversation by inferring the status of one or more of the messages, thereby reducing data transmissions, power consumption and improving battery life in mobile devices, and (ii) improved techniques for making informational content, selected by one user, available to one or more other users via a data hub server that avoids users having to download and reupload content that they wish to share, thereby reducing unnecessary data transmissions, power consumption and improving battery life in mobile devices; and
(c) Mobile Advertising?improved techniques of delivering targeted advertising and content to mobile devices based on user demographics and interest, as well as the location of the user?s mobile device and time-based triggers.
If you don’t want to read that wall of text, Blackberry’s big inventions — which it claims Twitter copied and is using to deprive it of tons of income — are:
- New message notifications
- Resetting the new message indicator when someone checks their inbox
- Message read status
- Server hosting to make sharing messages easier without having to upload
- Mobile advertising
Really? To argue that all of these are (1) patent worthy (2) non-obvious and (3) key revenue or even usage drivers is literally crazy. Someone go check in on the folks at Blackberry and their lawyers to make sure they’re still in touch with reality. This is an obnoxious patent trolling experience, and Blackberry should be embarrassed. If you want to look at the actual patents in this suit they are:
- US Patent 8,676,929: “System and method for pushing information to a mobile device”
- US Patent 8,296,351: “System and method for pushing information to a mobile device”
- US Patent 9,349,120: “System and method for silencing notifications for a message thread”
- US Patent 9,021,059: “Data hub server”
- US Patent 8,286,089: “Representing new messages on a communication device”
- US Patent 8,572,182: “Handling notifications in instant messaging systems”
I hope that Twitter gets each and every one of these patents invalidated and people continue to shun and mock BlackBerry for being an obnoxious patent troll, spitefully suing others for innovating where it fell down on the job and flopped.