Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, was ordered on Wednesday to pay $174.5 million in damages to Voxer, an app that accuses the tech giant of infringing its patents.
A Texas jury has determined that Meta copied walkie-talkie messaging patents in its live streaming features on Facebook Live and Instagram Live.
The trial opened in Austin last week.
Meta intends to appeal, a spokesperson told AFP. « We believe the evidence presented at trial shows that Meta did not infringe Voxer’s patents, » he said.
Voxer had launched lawsuits in 2020, ensuring that the Californian group had used its patented technology after the failure of an attempt to collaborate between the two companies in 2012.
The mobile app enables « the transmission of audio and video communications with the immediacy of live and the reliability and ease of messaging, » according to the complaint, even under poor network conditions and even if the recipient is not available.
Voxer explains that he was contacted by Facebook shortly after the launch of his service in 2011, which was an “immediate success”.
The start-up company would then have provided the details of its technologies to the social network, but « the meetings did not lead to an agreement », detail its lawyers.
“Facebook then identified Voxer as a competitor even though it had no live video or audio tools at the time,” the complaint states.
« Facebook revoked Voxer’s access to key elements of the platform and launched Facebook Live in 2015 and then Instagram Live in 2016. Both products include Voxer technologies and violate its patents, » asserts the plaintiff.