Snap Inc. Scores Patent Win Against BlackBerry

December 16, 2020

Paul Hastings LLP, a leading global law firm, won a significant victory in federal appeals court for its client Snap Inc. in a patent lawsuit brought by BlackBerry Ltd. against Snap, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp.

The firm successfully defended Snap — the parent of the popular messaging app Snapchat — against BlackBerry’s claims that Snap infringed on six U.S. patents covering its mobile messaging technology. The technology related to methods of deploying targeted advertising and locating “action spots,” among others.

Canada-based BlackBerry alleged that it had invested billions of dollars over the past decade into research and development, including for its patent portfolio, and the company has brought patent claims in various technology areas. In addition to its suit against Snap, BlackBerry filed a related action against Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp and has sued Twitter and Nokia in recent years.

In October 2019, Paul Hastings secured summary judgment by the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, which rejected four of BlackBerry’s six patent claims against Snap. The court ruled that BlackBerry’s claims were “abstract ideas” under Section 101 of the Patent Act and therefore not eligible for patent protection. BlackBerry stipulated to a dismissal with prejudice of the remaining two patents, opting to move directly to appeal.

On Dec. 10, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, after briefing and oral argument, affirmed the summary judgment of the district court.  

Snap’s legal victory follows several successful patent cases handled by Paul Hastings’ IP team on behalf of clients, such as Trend Micro and HTC.

The case is BlackBerry Limited v. Snap Inc. 

In parallel proceedings, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) instituted a review of the same four patents invalidated by the district court’s summary judgment. On Sept. 1, 2020, the PTAB found claims of the two patents asserted only against Snap to be invalid. The PTAB’s decision is currently on appeal.

At Paul Hastings, our purpose is clear — to help our clients and people navigate new paths to growth. With a strong presence throughout Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the U.S., Paul Hastings is recognized as one of the world’s most innovative global law firms.

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