A California judge has ruled that claims from four messaging and social media patents asserted by BlackBerry are invalid under Alice. In an October 1 order issued in the company’s lawsuit against Twitter, District Judge George H. Wu held that two patents generally related to notification management are unpatentably directed to abstract ideas but granted the plaintiff leave to amend its complaint in order to add additional factual allegations regarding those patents. The court also declined to invalidate two other patents, one due to a factual dispute under Aatrix and the other due to its similarity to certain other patents previously upheld by the Federal Circuit. In addition, the order incorporated Judge Wu’s analysis from another sealed decision issued that same day in cases against Facebook and Snap in which the court invalidated a further two patents but left a third intact.
BlackBerry has added Twitter (2:19-cv-01444) to the litigation campaign that it launched in July 2016, having already hit Avaya, BLU Products, Facebook, Nokia, and Snap to date. While the campaign has seen many more patents asserted, this latest complaint accuses Twitter of infringing six, generally related to various subject matters, including mobile devices, messaging services, and related networking equipment, through the provision of a variety of features of Twitter Ads and the Twitter app. The campaign has also seen Alphabet (Google) challenge several BlackBerry patents in inter partes review (IPR) proceedings before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), with mixed results, some of which each party has subsequently appealed to the Federal Circuit.