back to article Blackberry snaps, yakkity-yak Snapchat app brats slapped with patent trap rap

BlackBerry has filed suit against Snap Inc alleging the Snapchat service copied half a dozen of its mobile app design patents. The one-time smartphone king continued its efforts to cash in on its patent portfolio Tuesday when it filed a complaint [PDF] in the Central California US District Court accusing Snap of stealing its …

  1. JassMan Silver badge
    Trollface

    Ahhh, the optimism of lawyers

    "Defendant’s gain comes at BlackBerry’s expense, depriving BlackBerry of revenue to which it is entitled as a result of its inventions. "

    It only deprives them of revenue if all those customers had bought a Blackberry phone, which they obviously didn't otherwise Blackberry would not be in such dire financial straights that need to become patent trolls.

    1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Ahhh, the optimism of lawyers

      That's not how it works. If you steal my IP, all I have to do is show you are using it in something you sell. It's irrelevant whether you make a profit nor whether your customers would have come to me if you were not around.

      1. Deltics
        Pint

        Re: Ahhh, the optimism of lawyers

        Maybe not how it works in the US but elsewhere you have may have to demonstrate actual losses since your claims for recompense are limited to actual, demonstrable losses, otherwise your claim is punitive, not restorative and in some jurisdictions there is no - or very limited - scope for punitive damage.

        Optimism of lawyers is directly (or perhaps geometrically) proportional to the scope for them to make hay in the sunshine of the legal system in their particular jurisdiction.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "but elsewhere you have may have to demonstrate actual losses"

          If you hold a valid patent, the actual losses are what you should have paid to get a license to use the patent.

      2. flayman

        Re: Ahhh, the optimism of lawyers

        Every single one of those patents, like nearly all software patents, is bullshit and should never have been awarded. Like the patent for the tab in a multi window application. If their claims are to believed, Blackberry had a 10 year head start on the competition. It didn't save their business because they failed to adapt to, let alone anticipate or precipitate, a changing market.

    2. Diogenes

      Re: Ahhh, the optimism of lawyers

      It all boils down to the 'killer apps' people want on their phone. No snapchat on BB, then people won't buy BB , but an Apple or Android or (shudder) Win10

    3. User McUser

      Re: Ahhh, the optimism of lawyers

      otherwise Blackberry would not be in such dire financial straights that [it needs] to become resume being patent trolls.

      FTFY.

  2. J. R. Hartley

    Bollocks

    How do they get away with this absolute bollocks?

    1. Youngone Silver badge

      Re: Bollocks

      An IP law system designed by lawyers working as it was designed.

      By that I mean lawyers are getting rich.

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: Lawyer Bollocks

        Lawyers (esp in the USA) are the profession most likely to become Politicians. (here it seems to be that useless PPE degree but that is another story in itself)

        Lawyers who become Politicians are beholden to their lawyer bretherin and so will ONLY pass laws that benefit the incomes of Lawyers thus keeping more and more of them in work. Well, that's their grand plan.

        The Marx Brothers had it right with their "Shyster, Flywheel & Shyster". Like the song, it was so good, they named it twice.

      2. CrazyOldCatMan

        Re: Bollocks

        An IP law system designed by lawyers working as it was designed.

        And a US patent system that's not so much dysfunctional as utterly broken.

    2. bazza Silver badge

      Re: Bollocks

      How do they get away with this absolute bollocks?

      I'm sure it's easy to be as disparaging as that, right up until someone else steals your own money spinning idea and rips you off.

      1. find users who cut cat tail

        Re: Bollocks

        > until someone else steals your own money spinning idea and rips you off

        So you are the guy who patented ‘offering products and/or services in exchange for money’?

        You cannot steal ideas. Even according to the most moronic IP laws which protect much more than they should, mere ideas are not protected.

  3. wsm

    If all else fails

    And if they don't get a big patent award, they can always claim something about copyright, n'est-ce pas?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lawsuits in Motion

    They're back to where they started!

    I think the Reg first coined that term before the dotcom bubble burst!

  5. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    RIMjob?

    1. Sartori

      No thanks, I'd rather have a nice cup of tea.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan

        I'd rather have a nice cup of tea.

        #And tell you of my dreaming, dreaming is free..

      2. J. R. Hartley

        Wouldn't you prefer a nice game of chess?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They're only responding in kind

    Worth remembering that BlackBerry themselves had to pay out $600 million or thereabouts to a guy who apparently sent an email from his living room to his garage wirelessly marginally before they had a international network (or similar, my memory fails me).

    And BlackBerry failed in part because they were willing to pay significant license fees to Oracle for Java. While Google refused and battled Oracle. After years (almost a decade) Oracle finally won in March. Should be interesting to see what damages they get after all this time.

    Bit late for BlackBerry of course. Their BB10 OS was the best mobile OS by a country mile. With the billions they paid in patent violations and licenses maybe they could have developed the ecosystem they needed to compete.

    1. flayman

      Re: They're only responding in kind

      "With the billions they paid in patent violations and licenses maybe they could have developed the ecosystem they needed to compete."

      Maybe. I'm not so sure. I think they lost their way. BBM suffered a major outage in 2011 that shook the company's reputation. Then they screwed up the launch of BB10 and it was delayed by more than a year. This allowed Apple and Google/Samsung to grab a firm hold. Strategically the company then failed to grasp the changing market demographic for smart phones and downplayed the importance of good entertainment features, which professionals want as much as anyone else. They put too much stock in the uniqueness of their offering. Then the following year they practically threw out the device from their corporate strategy. So much for an ecosystem! You can't really have an eco-system without devices attached to it. In late 2015 the company finally embraced the Android ecosystem, but by then it was too late. You could argue that the reason companies like Snap and WhatsApp flourished was that they filled the vacuum left by the departure of Blackberry from the handset market (they never really successfully penetrated the consumer market) and the relegation of BBM to a standalone service, which didn't appear on iOS and Android until late 2013. Had BBM been available back in 2011 (even despite the outage) then Snap Inc probably wouldn't have got off the ground. Instead, Snapchat became the defacto for time limited messaging on both of those platforms.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: They're only responding in kind

        I'm not so sure that the 2011 outage is quite such a big deal so far as these things go. Nowadays there's been equally debilitating TITSUP moments from Google, Microsoft, Apple, almost everyone, and set against that industry "norm" BBM's outage is comparatively tame. Except that it was the first to happen, and there wasn't really any other alternative service to fall back on.

        For example if one considers Skype over the past few months from MS it's been a prolonged partial TITSUP culminating in MS finally restoring the old version of the client that actually worked. Skype has been so awful my entire family has gone to BBM instead. It works a treat for calling, videophone, etc.

        Spot on about missing the boat with BBM on iOS and Android. I guess they feared diluting demand for their BB10 phones, but that should have been set aside as soon as it became obvious that BB10 would be too little too late.

        1. flayman

          Re: They're only responding in kind

          The 2011 outage was significant for a couple reasons. One, the service previously had a rock solid reputation for reliability. Two, the outage coincided with the release of the iPhone 4S. I suppose another reason is that the outage followed on the heels of the layoff of 2000 employees due to slowed growth. Much of what happened to the company after 2011 would be the result of poor strategic decisions and analysts writing them down. It's probably not a coincidence that the dual CEOs resigned in January 2012 and then in March the company posted its first net loss in years. Their 2013 earnings were on par with 2009.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "downplayed the importance of *bling*"

        "which professionals want as much as anyone else."

        Fixed for you.

        When the iPhone replaced the Blackberry as a status symbol, Blackberry was dead. I know not a few people who liked do show off with Blackberrys turning quickly to iPhones - because that's what the Alpha type should have...

        1. flayman

          Re: "downplayed the importance of *bling*"

          Yes. My daughter begged us for a Blackberry when she was about 10, some 6 or 7 years ago. By the time we let her have one her friends had all swapped for iPhones. No matter how you slice it, Blackberry lost its grip on their target market. They realised they couldn't compete with the Java based OS that was homegrown, so they bought QNX, which could have been a good move. Unfortunately, they took a year longer to market than expected and meanwhile they were continuing to sell outdated phones. Naturally iPhone pipped them. Call it bling or whatever. Blackberry just didn't move fast enough.

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