BlackBerry revealed this week it was suing Facebook over several common pieces of message tech, several of which you use every day.
Reuters reported the smartphone company is taking Facebook to court, claiming it holds the patent to specific pieces of common message tech, which Facebook allegedly ripped off. It also says it has negotiated with Facebook over the tech for years.
Paul Grewal, Facebook’s deputy general counsel, responded to the lawsuit in a statement:
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.
Patent bitchiness aside, the list of BlackBerry’s alleged patents spans several familiar message staples. Here they are, straight from the lawsuit:
- “A method of providing a notifications of unread messages on a wireless communication device, comprising: displaying at least one icon relating to electronic messaging … visually modifying at least one displayed icon relating to electronic messaging to include a numeric character representing a count of the plurality of different messaging correspondents for which one or more of the electronic messages have been received and remain unread.” a.k.a The red numbers on your app tiles which indicate the number of unread messages.
- “Methods, systems, and computer programming products … for silencing message threads [whereby] once a message thread has been silenced, the user will no longer receive notifications of new messages added to the thread.” a.k.a. The ability to mute conversations.
- “A method of selecting a photo tag for a tagged photo, comprising: providing a tag entry field for entering a photo tag; in dependence upon a string entered by a user, displaying in a matching tag list any tags from one or more selected tag sources matching the entered string.” a.k.a. The box in Facebook tags that let you enter part of a person’s name and select their name from a list of autocompleted entries in order to tag them.
- “…display of timestamps in a messaging user interface that provides users with appropriate temporal context for their communications without overtaking the user’s screen with unnecessary information” a.k.a. timestamps that let you know when the messages were sent to you.
- “Enabling a game application on an electronic device to utilize a contact list for an instant messaging application for playing games with contacts by identifying game play in the contact list.” a.k.a. Inviting your friends to play mobile games with you.
The other patents cover security and sending messages in batches, but the above five are the interesting ones.
Since it looks like the two companies are set to scuffle, we’ll have to wait and see how their fight over messaging tech plays out and what, if any effect it’ll have on Facebook.
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