"The most thuggish party wins"
Welcome to 21C corporate earth.
When WhatsApp founder Jan Koum complained that Apple was ripping off his app, the derision from the BlackBerry community was instant. "Anybody who's followed the development of WhatsApp from its earliest days knows that WhatsApp 100 per cent systematically ripped off BBM feature by feature. WhatsApp shamelessly stole," wrote …
>It's always been that way.
No. Even a lone inventor can face down big adversaries. Also, did you really believe the patent system would exist today if any big corp. could get away by brutalising small patent holders?
Also most patent conflicts are settled out of court. It was with Steve Jobs going "thermonuclear" that things turned high profile and journalists got breathless. The much larger Nokia - Qualcomm war was larger in settlement, larger in patent warfare and much smaller in news coverage. That was more the norm.
“if you can't protect your invention”
As your article points out, RIM/BBM made certain features popular.
Based on the dates on the patents I’d suggest RIM/BBM did not invent them, there was prior use of the features in other messaging tools, they were just the first to attempt to patent them.
>typically when a company infringes on someone patent, they wait and wait before taking action to maximise the potential return...
Wait and wait? Really? And how do they get around the issues with estoppel? You write typically so I expect you have ample sources to back that one up.
Probably did exist, and this was before "patent reform" made it first to file vs first to invent.
But there's no question BB was first in this form, and first to make it really ubiquitous. I recall the days of their ascendancy long before FB...
I do suspect that the "he with the gold makes the rules" will be in effect, and that lawyers would have made the issues murky if they weren't already - it's their rice-bowl and main expertise.
I also suspect a certain amount of luck was involved, and have mixed feelings about whether the rest of us should pay extra nearly forever because someone else had some good luck - and in the end, it's always we who pay for all royalties and compliances...there are no "other people whose pockets we're picking" in the final analysis. Make things more expensive - via this or regulations - and we all pay. Else the company goes out of business..and there is then nothing to pay for.
We pay the lawyers on both sides....
What I see here is a desperation move by a company that for whatever reasons, squandered all their successes. It's tough out here in the real world. And that's from someone who doesn't have a FB account (that I can log into - everyone has an account), and wishes they quit enabling stupidity.
I'm no fan of FB - and it's not worth suing anyone who doesn't have deep pockets. But if they're real deep, you're gonna lose.
IRC had presence, as did the messaging built into many BBSes in the 80s and 90s. Blackberry probably only scored their patents because they wrote them in the tired old "X, but on mobile" form to distinguish them from earlier versions of mostly similar capability like IRC, AIM, ICQ and others that came before.
The main thing BBM added that others didn't have was the ability for companies to set up their own server, like they were already used to doing with email (well you could set up your own IRC or ICQ server but only really techie companies would do that) It also had encryption "always on" instead of requiring enough hassle to set up that few do it (kind of like email encryption remains to this day) The earlier messaging solutions like IRC, AIM etc. didn't have encryption because they didn't want to expend unnecessary resources on the server end when customers weren't demanding it, but for something targeted at businesses (and where businesses were paying for the server with a nice markup for Blackberry) it made sense.
As a BBM user for many years I watched with interest as WhatsApp appeared and then as the article says cannibalised features. I have a friend who I tried to get to use BBM before WhatsApp had many of those features. He said "It's got features I hope WhatsApp will have like in the future". I have now had to switch to using WhatsApp because the rest of my family are users. I don't like that my phone doesn't get WhatsApp messages immediately and often requires me to open the phone. I much prefer the layout of BBM. Be interested to see how this plays out.
Blackberries business has stabilized recently so i suspect they are in a better position for a sustained fight.
Although a shadow of their former self they have significant non-handset businesses which needed attention if they were to survive as a technology company and not just a patent troll.
BlackBerry pretty much wrote the book at putting important functions and shortcuts at the users fingertips.
Is that why most android and ios apps are faster if you learn how to use your phone upside down.
Bb10 o.s is pretty much wiped out now. Time to make the most popular o.s's half decent.
Use BlackBerry's 38,000 patents, pay royalties, licensing fees or fight them in court, whatever. Just start making decent phones (with all the apps).