Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp Sued Over Virtual Effects Digital Mirror Display Patents

On Thursday, plaintiffs EyesMatch Ltd. and Memomi Labs Inc. filed a complaint in the District of Delaware against Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp for infringing its digital mirror application patents through the Facebook, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram apps.

The patents-in-suit are United States Patent Nos. 8,624,883 (the ’883 patent); 7,948,481 (the ’481 patent); 8,982,109 (the ’109 patent); and 8,982,110 (the ’110 patent), which relate to “digital mirrors and related technologies for computerized appearance comparison,” thus allowing users to “duplicate the functioning of a physical mirror” and virtually try on different items, such as clothes, makeup, hairstyles, or other ways to digitally alter their appearance.

According to the complaint, the ’883 patent, entitled “Devices, Systems and Methods of Capturing and Displaying Appearances” is “directed to systems and methods for enabling appearance comparison with an interactive display station that is capable of operating in both a mirror mode and a display mode… including with virtual effects such as simulations of different user appearances such as hair styles or clothing.” The plaintiffs asserted that “in the ‘mirror mode,’ a subject is presented with a real-time mirrored view of themselves, while in the display mode of operation, prior mirror views may be recalled from storage and displayed to enable appearance comparison. This allows a user to compare appearance ‘simultaneously or sequentially.’” Additionally, the “mirror-display device can be connected over a network with other mirror display devices such that the images may be shared or viewed at different locations.”  

The plaintiff alleged that Facebook, for example, infringed the patents-in-suit through “Facebook Posts, Facebook Stories, and Facebook Live features; the Messenger App, including the Camera, Video Calling, and Stories feature; and Portal.” Specifically, the Facebook and Messenger apps, as well as Portal” allow users to “create, save, share, and display live or recorded videos and images including videos and images with virtual effects – both mirrored and non-reversed.” Instagram and WhatsApp have similar features that purportedly perform the same aforementioned acts.

The plaintiff averred that Facebook infringed at least claim 1 and 12 of the ’883 patent through the aforementioned features that purportedly “combine( ) its software with mobile device hardware,” which allegedly use the infringing systems, for example, by allowing users to “capture, manipulate, display, and share” images and videos that are altered or have virtual effects, as described in the ’883 patent. The plaintiffs provide various examples of the alleged infringement by providing a few virtual effects on a user and how the user can allegedly compare the images in several claim charts.

Facebook is accused of direct, contributory, and induced infringement. The plaintiffs have sought declaratory judgment in its favor, an award for damages, pre- and post-judgment interest, an award for costs and fees, a permanent injunction, and other relief. EyesMatch and Memomi are represented by Farnan LLP and Tensegrity Law Group, LLP.