Meta says it will challenge $175 mln patent verdict over video technology

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  • Walkie-talkie app maker said Meta copied tech for Facebook Live
  • Jury found Meta violated video-streaming, messaging patents

(Reuters) – Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc said it will appeal a nearly $175 million verdict awarded Wednesday by jurors in Austin, Texas, who found it infringed two patents belonging to walkie-talkie app maker Voxer Inc related to video streaming and messaging.

Meta’s Facebook Live and Instagram Live live-streaming features used Voxer’s patented technology, the jury said after a seven-day trial, granting Voxer $174.5 million in patent royalty damages.

A Meta spokesperson said Thursday that the company believes the evidence showed it did not infringe. Meta intends to contest the verdict in the trial court and through an appeal, the spokesperson said.

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Voxer and its attorneys did not immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday.

San Francisco-based Voxer launched its app in 2011. It said it had a series of meetings with Facebook in 2012 about a potential collaboration where it disclosed its patented technology to the tech giant.

The meetings did not lead to an agreement, and Facebook cut Voxer off from key features of its platform in 2013, according to Voxer’s 2020 lawsuit. Voxer said the company now known as Meta launched Facebook Live in 2015 and Instagram Live the next year, allegedly integrating the streaming technology it pioneered.

One of the Voxer patents covers a method for streaming video, and the other covers infrastructure for a video-messaging service. The jury rejected Meta’s argument that the video-messaging patent was invalid on Wednesday.

Meta told the court in a filing Tuesday that no reasonable juror could find its services worked in the same way as Voxer’s patented technology, and that the app maker was not entitled to any damages.

The case is Voxer Inc v. Meta Platforms Inc, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, No. 1:20-cv-00655.

For Meta: Robert Van Nest, Christa Anderson, David Silbert, Eugene Paige, Matthew Werdegar and Paven Malhotra of Keker Van Nest & Peters

For Voxer: Kevin Johnson, Robert Stone, Sam Stake, Kate Shih and Michael Powell of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan

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Blake Brittain

Thomson Reuters

Blake Brittain reports on intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. Reach him at blake.brittain@thomsonreuters.com

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