Meta to pay walkie-talkie techs $175 million in patent case • The Register

A Texas jury this week ordered Meta Platforms to pay more than $174 million for infringing on patents held by walkie-talkie technicians at Voxer that sell an iPhone app that lets you use while talking can send messages over the Internet instantly.

Voxer submitted the original patent case [PDF] in Austin in 2020, back when the social media giant was still called Facebook.

It involved two patents developed by the live “push-to-talk” multi-user streaming communications platform allegedly infringed by Meta’s Facebook Live and Instagram Live.

The company said Tom Katis, co-founder and CEO of Voxer, first began developing solutions to communication deficiencies he experienced while serving abroad in the military in 2006.

The idea was that, similar to a walkie-talkie, the recipient could start listening seconds after the start of an audio or video message, while the sender continued talking (instead of only being heard after it was recorded and broadcast). .

The US case referred to technologies that “enabled the transmission of voice and video communications with the immediacy of live communications and the reliability and convenience of messaging,” culminating in their patent applications for technologies that would “enable transmission and reception under poor conditions.” and different network conditions and enable”. regardless of the availability of a recipient.”

The first, granted in 2012, was a US patent 8180030 (‘030), which “allows users to review the messages of conversations in either live mode or deferred mode”. The second, ‘557granted in 2018, covers, among other things, the delivery of video communications “without first establishing an end-to-end connection across the network between the sender and receiver”.

During the fall, meta claims [PDF] that Voxer’s delivery method was “an abstract idea, comparable to a company’s mail room” and that both patents lack any inventive concept to attempt to invalidate them. Federal Judge Lee Yeakel denied the request in February.

For its part, Voxer claimed in its original complaint that Facebook approached the company about a potential collaboration soon after the Voxer app launched in 2011.

According to the complaint:

jury found for Voxer on all claims this week [PDF] and awarded him $174,530,785 in ongoing royalties.

The registry spoke to then-CTO and platform co-founder Matt Ranney about the code development behind Voxer’s technology back in 2011 when the platform was first launched. You can read the interview here.

We reached out to Voxer’s Katis for comment.

A Meta spokesperson told us, “We believe the evidence at trial has shown that Meta did not infringe Voxer’s patents.

Voxer launched a similar action against Facebook In the United Kingdom and Germany in 2021. In the United Kingdomthe Supreme Court concluded that Voxer’s European Patent (UK) No. 2393259 not violated by Facebook Live or by live broadcast features in the Instagram apps on iOS. ® Meta to pay walkie-talkie techs $175 million in patent case • The Register

Laura Coffey

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