Facebook sued for patent infringement over Facebook Messenger app

Recently, a company called Uniloc sued Facebook for patent infringement.[1] The Plaintiffs allege to own several patents in the “field of text/voice instant messaging.”[2] The lawsuit revolves around a dispute over whether the Facebook Messenger app infringes upon the Plaintiffs’ patents.[3] The Plaintiffs’ Complaint specifically references five patents that it claims to own which are entitled “SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR INSTANT VOIP MESSAGING” and which allegedly issued on May 19, 2009, June 12, 2012, August, 14, 2012, May 13, 2014, and March 31, 2015, respectively.[4] The Complaint requests injunctive relief and monetary damages, including recovery of attorneys’ fees and costs.[5]

In order to resolve this dispute the Court will need to look at the “claims” of the Plaintiffs’ patents, which identify the elements of the invention(s). The Court will then need to compare the claims of the Plaintiffs’ patents to the allegedly infringing device, i.e., the Facebook Messenger, to see if infringement has occurred. The Court may also need to consider whether the Plaintiffs waited too long to file the lawsuit, considering that some of its alleged patents were registered in 2009 and 2012. This is known as a laches defense and must be asserted by the Defendant in response to the Plaintiffs’ Complaint. We will be monitoring the progress of this case as it is still in its early stages.

Please contact our office if you have any questions regarding the information in this article.

Daniel Devine, Esq.
Santucci Priore, P.L.

[1] See, Uniloc USA, Inc., et. al. v. Facebook, Inc., Case NO. 16-cv-00728-JRG, at Docket Entry #1 (E.D. Tex. July 5, 2016).
[2] Id.
[3] Id.
[4] Id.
[5] Id.

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