What just happened? Facebook parent company Meta has been ordered to pay the maker of a walkie-talkie app nearly $175 million after a jury found it guilty of infringing on two Voxer patents. The lawsuit, originally filed in 2020, revolves around video streaming technology used by Facebook Live and Instagram Live.
Army veteran Tom Katis, a former Green Beret, began developing communications technology in 2006 after witnessing battlefield communications problems while serving in Afghanistan. Voxer’s complaint (via the LA Times) states that after re-enlisting after 9/11 and serving as a communications sergeant in the Army Special Forces in 2003, his unit was ambushed and he was confronted with deficiencies in the existing systems while trying to coordinate medical evacuations. and reinforcements. .
Voxer launched its Walkie Talkie app in 2011. Shortly after, the company was approached by Facebook about a possible collaboration. In 2012, Voxer had shared its patent portfolio and proprietary technology with the social media company.
The meetings stalled, leading Voxer to identify Facebook as a rival even though there was no Facebook Live or Instagram Live at the time. The company then revoked Voxer’s access “to key components of the Facebook platform.”
A court in Austin, Texas, just ruled that Facebook Live and Instagram Live infringed two Voxer patents, both of which involve streaming media.
In a lawsuit in the UK, Facebook claimed that Voxer violated its intellectual property and wanted Voxer’s patents declared null and void. According to The Reg, Facebook argued that pause-and-continue live video existed before the patent was granted and therefore the patent should be revoked.
Meta told The Times that he disputes Voxer’s claims, of course, and believes that the evidence presented at the Texas trial showed that Meta did not infringe Voxer’s patents. He intends to seek further remedy, including filing an appeal.
Having to hand over $175 million would be a big deal for most companies, but Meta won’t be too sorry, assuming it loses its appeal. Net income for Mark Zuckerberg’s company was $6.7 billion in the April-June quarter.
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