BlackBerry has emerged from its relative silence to file a surprise lawsuit against Facebook and its subsidiaries. It’s unclear what prompted this action, but the Canadian company claims that its patents relating to instant messaging are being infringed.
The patents being contended are somewhat suspect, as BlackBerry is claiming that it owns the patents for some rather widespread user interface features. These include, but are not limited to, displaying a time stamp next to messages and showing the number of unread messages in the notification bar. Something that just about every instant messaging service does these days.
The section in question reads: “User Interface Improvements For Mobile Devices —
including (i) improvements in message notification techniques that streamline and optimize reception of new message notifications that prevent users from being inundated with numerous messaging notifications, (ii) display of timestamps in a messaging user interface that provides users with appropriate temporal
context for their communications without overtaking the user’s scree
n with unnecessary information, and (iii) tagging friends and family in social media photographs.”
What BlackBerry is hoping to get out of this lawsuit is still unknown. Also unknown is why the company hasn’t also taken action against all the other services that seemingly also infringe on these patents.