Published in Mobiles

Blackberry turns into patent troll

by on08 August 2016

Sues Avaya

Troubled mobile phone maker BlackBerry has decided to make a bit more money by suing those it thinks stole its ideas.

A patent lawsuit has been launched against internet telephony outfit Avaya. However in making its case that Avaya should pay royalties, BlackBerry appears to be looking at what it has done rather than what it is doing. The firm argues that it should be paid for its history of innovation going back nearly 20 years.

The court papers say:

"BlackBerry revolutionised the mobile industry. BlackBerry... has invented a broad array of new technologies that cover everything from enhanced security and cryptographic techniques, to mobile device user interfaces, to communication servers, and many other areas."

 BlackBerry claims Avaya infringes eight US Patents:

  • Nos. 9,143,801 and 8,964,849, relating to "significance maps" for coding video data;
  • No. 8,116,739, describing methods of displaying messages;
  • No. 8,886,212, describing tracking location of mobile devices;
  • No. 8,688,439, relating to speech decoding and compression;
  • No. 7,440,561, describing integrating wireless phones into a PBX network;
  • No. 8,554,218, describing call routing methods; and
  • No. 7,372,961, a method of generating a cryptographic public key.

The oldest is 1998 and the most recent is 2011..

Products targeted by Blackberry include Avaya's video conferencing systems, Avaya Communicator for iPad, a product that connects mobile users to IP Office systems, and various IP desk phones. .

The BlackBerry complaint states that the company notified Avaya of its alleged infringement of those specific patents in a letter dated December 17, 2015, which must have come as a bit of a surprise. It has been filed in the Northern District of Texas, which is less because the region is more patent friendly (like East Texas) but because it is where Avaya does business and maintains a two-storey office.

BlackBerry has hired top patent laywer Quinn Emanuel. The firm defended Samsung in the high-profile Apple v. Samsung case and has taken on various cases for Google.

Last year Cisco paid a "license fee" to Blackberry. Details were few and far between but it seems to have beento make Blackberry lawyers go away. In May, BlackBerry CEO John Chen told investors on an earnings call that he was in "patent licensing mode," eager to monetise his company's 38,000 patents.

Last modified on 08 August 2016
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