Law Street Media

VOIP-Pal Sues Facebook For Patent Infringement Over WhatsApp

Social media reaction icons coming form a smartphone.

Social media and digital online concept, woman using smartphone and show technology icon.

VOIP-Pal has filed a complaint against Facebook, et al. for patent infringement. They claim that they have improved IP communication through its patent which provides “improvements in routing controllers, processes, networks and systems,” and alleges that Facebook violated that patent through its WhatsApp platform.  

The Patent-in-Suit is U.S. Patent No. 10,218,606 (the “’606 patent”), entitled “Producing Routing Messages For Voice Over IP Communications.” VOIP-Pal states that it has improved communication technology “by the invention of novel methods, processes and apparatuses that facilitate communications across and between internet protocol based communication systems and networks, such as internally controlled systems and external networks…including the classification and routing thereof.” The complaint was filed in the Texas Western District Court. VOIP-Pal is represented by Hudnell Law Group.

The plaintiff alleges that Facebook has infringed on its patent via Facebook’s WhatsApp messaging service, which “allows users of mobile device[s] to to [sic] communicate using text, images, video and audio with users of other mobile devices.”

Plaintiff claims that Facebook and WhatsApp have infringed upon the ’606 patent by infringing on at least claim 1 of the patent by “offering to sell, selling and/or importing into the United States at least certain methods, apparatuses, products and services used for communication, including, without limitation, the Accused Instrumentality [WhatsApp].” The defendants  allegedly infringe upon claim 8 of the patent, alleging that defendants infringe because WhatsApp “routes a communication in a packet switched communication system between a first participant device associated with a first participant and a second participant device associated with a second participant, the first and second participant devices being associated with first and second network elements.”

As a result of the WhatsApp process, VOIP-Pal alleges that WhatsApp has infringed its patent by using processes described and protected in the patent. As described in the patent, WhatsApp users must input information, such as name and other contact information, this allegedly constitutes user input. After inputting one’s information, a user has registered with WhatsApp with a username and phone number; the plaintiff considers this registration the first participant identifier. The existence of a first participant identifier allegedly violates the patent, as does the use of two participant identifiers to connect the participants and devices for communication. As a result of these claims, VOIP-Pal alleges that Facebook and WhatsApp have infringed upon its patent.

VOIP-Pal informed Facebook of their alleged violation, but they reportedly continue to infringe. They have also accused the defendants of inducing infringement on behalf of the users of these platforms. VOIP-Pal has sought a declaratory judgment, an order permanently enjoining Defendants from infringing the patent-in-suit, an award of damages, a permanent injunction, an award for costs, fees and other relief as determined by the Court.

VOIP-Pal mentions Facebook and WhatsApp on its website, describing them as outdated as users can only communicate with others within the app. VOIP-Pal appears to call for breaking down these communication barriers. The company’s website also has an entire section dedicated to legal action, although the most recent filings listed on the site are from 2016 and 2017; the majority of the suits were for patent infringement.

Exit mobile version