BlackBerry vs Facebook– a David vs Goliath dilemma

Here’s another interesting article from Itproportal titled:  BlackBerry vs Facebook– a David vs Goliath dilemma

“When, as a society, did we stop enjoying giant-killers? When did we quit valuing the little, fearless competitor that could withstand the behemoth? In college I heard concerning David as well as Goliath; in your home, I now check out Jack and also the Beanstalk to my child. It’s a quite global style, and in my view a worthwhile one. So, what happened to our collective love-affair with the little person?

Earlier this year, BlackBerry filed a claim against Facebook in the US (USA Area Court for the Central District of The golden state) for infringement of numerous licenses, associating with numerous facets of Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp & & Instagram.

What surprised me most about this case at the time was the degree of hostility that seemed to be brought to bear against BlackBerry in certain areas of the non-specialist press. Additionally, it was odd how philanthropic some journalists seemed to be to Facebook. Essentially, Facebook was being accused of infringing BlackBerry’s intellectual property civil liberties. Nevertheless, would certainly one appearance so charitably if a small, unheard-of business or individual were implicated of counterfeiting Louis Vuitton bags, or of copying the Harry Potter books wholesale? I would guess not.

Additionally, there seemed to be some (just how can I put this) complication in the ordinary press concerning a few fundamental concepts associating with patents. I wish to try to get rid of that up below.

For a start, some analysts appear to have whined that BlackBerry can not perhaps file a claim against Facebook relative to the features alleged to infringe (such as specific attributes associated to instant messaging) because those features have become so extremely common in the modern-day world; ubiquitous, one may say. This is extremely far from the factor. It makes no difference in all just how usual the features have ended up being in the here and now time, various other than to the level that BlackBerry could be able to acquire even more cash from Facebook in problems. What matters is whether the claimed developments in the patents were new as well as innovative when the initial license applications were made.

No ‘utilize it or shed it’ principles

I have actually considered the licenses concerned. They include a selection of creations, from generating cryptographic tricks to linking a messaging solution with a game. A few of the applications day back to 2010 or 2011; one of them even seems to go back regarding 2001. So the inquiry is: were the claimed developments brand-new and innovative at that time , when the patents were obtained? Addressing this question normally includes asking a technological professional in the appropriate field (computer technology, telecommunications) to cast their mind back to the relevant date (which, if it’s a decade or more earlier, is no basic task in such a fast-moving area) as well as ask whether someone in the field during that time would have generated the trademarked innovation equally as an apparent, workshop development of what was about at the time. One have to put knowledge of the patent itself, and whatever else that post-dated it right up until the here and now day, out of one’s mind. Again, that’s difficult. Yet that’s the acid examination.

Also, some individuals were apparently criticising BlackBerry since they no more make telephones (speak about kicking a person when they’re down), and are attempting to generate income from their patents. Well, what’s incorrect keeping that? The whole factor of licenses is that, in return for revealing the information of the creation to the general public, on a public register, the patentee obtains a syndicate for a restricted time (commonly 20 years). That’s it.

There’s nothing in license regulation stating that you have to offer the important things you have actually created. There’s no “use it or lose it” concept here. Also, there’s absolutely nothing stating that you have actually to have actually invested years and/or millions on thinking of your invention and also obtaining your patent, also though in this situation BlackBerry could well have done exactly that. You (and also this implies you as well, dear reader, due to the fact that any person can be a developer) create the idea for the invention, then you obtain the patent and, if it’s brand-new as well as innovative, as well as explained well sufficient to enable someone else to do what you have actually developed, you obtain your monopoly. That is what patents are. They are a reward for having made the details of your innovation public. That still uses whether BlackBerry make telephones or not.

Possible drawbacks

Facebook have naturally defended themselves by claiming that the licenses in suit are invalid. All of that is fine. If the licenses are not valid, and/or if they are not actually infringed, then certainly BlackBerry need to not obtain a penny. Yet that may be a huge “if”.

Facebook have actually additionally retaliated by taking legal action against BlackBerry for infringement of several of Facebook’s own licenses. This appears to be a modification of tone from Facebook, absolutely taking into account earlier cases from Paul Grewal, Facebook’s deputy basic advise, to the result that BlackBerry was seeking to tax various other individuals’s technology by means of their claim. Yet nevertheless, Facebook of program have every right to take such action.

To return to the original claim, however, the potential disadvantages of Facebook shedding the instance filed versus them could be costly, to claim the least. Initially, BlackBerry might obtain damages from Facebook for acts of infringement, which harms could be based upon just how much money Facebook have made from the infringing functions, or perhaps on the quantity of cash that Facebook would certainly have paid BlackBerry had they taken a licence for the patents.

Likewise, perhaps even worse than that, Facebook could be put with an injunction stopping them from providing the pertinent applications for the life of the appropriate license( s). The risk of an injunction is perhaps decreased in the United States by the eBay choice, which developed a concept that orders should typically just be provided where (among various other points) the patentee suffers irreparable injury as a result of the infringement. (This is the one location where it may actually be relevant that BlackBerry are no longer marketing telephones.) Nevertheless, if an injunction were to be awarded, it could possibly cost Facebook much more than a damages honor in terms of shed loan, hassle and shame. Also, in other jurisdictions (like the UK), where there is no EBay decision, maybe much easier for a patentee to obtain a final injunction, if indeed they file a claim against right here also.

Some individuals may say that, much from huge IT companies being oppressed by unimportant suits (hand me my violin), the reverse remains in truth the situation; such firms can often arrogate to themselves various other events’ developments without so much as a by-your-leave, and after that effectively attempt those other, smaller, parties to take activity. Such activities are costly in both cash and also management time, and also the fact that large IT firms tend to have such vast sources can cause a discrepancy of arms. Battling giants, much from being a fairy-tale, can in practice be a scary story for the (fairly) little individual, spending quality time as well as valuable money trying to impose their lawful rights against an enemy with relatively endless sources to toss at them.

If BlackBerry are ultimately effective against Facebook, they may even consider continuing versus other parties. Undoubtedly, a success against Facebook may offer encouragement to other patentees to tackle Facebook themselves, or big companies like them. If the patentees’ civil liberties are strong, and their problems are proven, then so much the better as for this analyst is worried. Long live the giant-killers.”

Matt Jones, Companion, EIP
Photo Credit Score: Blackberry




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