Recently, a company called Uniloc sued Facebook for patent infringement. The Plaintiffs allege to own several patents in the “field of text/voice instant messaging.” The lawsuit revolves around a dispute over whether the Facebook Messenger app infringes upon the Plaintiffs’ patents. 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. The Complaint requests injunctive relief and monetary damages, including recovery of attorneys’ fees and costs.
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.
A message claiming to protect the copyright of users’ photos, status updates and other creations shared on Facebook is making the rounds. There are different variations of the message, but most of them contain something to this effect:
Due to the fact that Facebook has chosen to involve software that will allow the theft of my personal information, I do declare the following: on this day, 28th November 2014, in response to the new Facebook guidelines and under articles L.111, 112 and 113 of the code of intellectual property, I declare that my rights are attached to all my personal data, drawings, paintings, photos, texts etc… published on my profile since the day I opened my account … Those reading this text can copy it and paste it on their Facebook wall. This will allow them to place themselves under the protection of copyright.
The problem: it is meaningless as a matter of law. You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, however, Facebook has the right to use your content according to how you set your privacy settings. This is the standard for sites with user-generated content.
The lesson: if you are concerned about sharing something on Facebook, DO NOT SHARE IT!
Santucci Priore, P.L.
Image Credit: Flickr User g4ll4is