Meta ordered to pay $175 million to walkie-talkie app maker Voxer for patent infringement • CableFree TV

Published by
Peter Kavinsky

A Texas federal jury ordered Meta to pay walkie-talkie maker Voxer more than $174.5 million in damages, according to court documents filed Wednesday. Voxer, creator walkie talkie appthe first filed a lawsuit against Meta (formerly known as Facebook) in 2020 after it accused the company of infringing on its patents and using its technology on Facebook Live and Instagram Live.

Voxer’s founder, Tom Cathys, began developing the patents in question in 2006 as a way to address the battlefield communication problems he faced while serving as a Special Forces communications sergeant in Afghanistan. Cathys and the Voxer team developed technology to enable live voice and video communications and launched the Walkie Talkie app in 2011.

Court documents say that Meta approached Voxer about a possible collaboration shortly after the app’s launch, after which Voxer disclosed its patent portfolio and patented technology to the tech giant. After initial meetings between the two companies failed to reach an agreement, Meta identified Voxer as a competitor, despite not having their own live voice or live video product at the time. The company then revoked the Walkie Talkie app’s access to key components of Facebook, including the removal of access to Find My Friends.

“Facebook withdrew Voxer’s access to key components of the Facebook platform and launched Facebook Live in 2015 and then Instagram Live in 2016,” court documents say. “Both products incorporate Voxer technology and infringe on Voxer patents.”

The documents also state that Kathys had a chance meeting with a Facebook Live senior product manager in February 2016 to raise Facebook Live’s infringement of Voxer’s patents, after which Meta refused to enter into an agreement with Voxer regarding further use of the patented Voxer. technology. Meta then launched its Instagram Live offering in November 2016.

A spokesperson for Meta disputed the claims in a statement sent to TechCrunch, arguing that evidence presented in court showed that Meta did not infringe on Voxer’s patents.

“We believe the evidence in court demonstrated that Meta did not infringe on Voxer’s patents,” the statement said. “We intend to seek further relief, including an appeal.”

Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at cablefreetv.org

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