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Facebook Wins Current Round In A Telecommunication Patent Fight Against Unilock 2017 LLC

Recently, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) has sided with Meta Platforms, Inc., formerly Facebook, Inc., and its subsidiary WhatsApp, LLC over Uniloc 2017, LLC in cross-appeals from two IPRs (inter partes reviews).


The issue revolved around the asserted patent, U.S. Patent No. 8,724,622, and separately for a similar U.S. Patent No 8,995,433 which were the subject to much contest since 2016. The technology was pertaining to a system and method for instant VoIP messaging. This patent has a Dec 2003 priority and has been under contest since around 2016. Essentially the technology teaches about methods, systems, and programs for instant voice messaging over a packet-switched network. A method for instant voice messaging may comprise receiving an instant voice message having one or more recipients, delivering the instant voice message to the one or more recipients over a packet-switched network, temporarily storing the instant voice message if a recipient is unavailable; and delivering the stored instant voice message to the recipient once the recipient becomes available.

As a quick background, Facebook petitioned to join an IPR initiated by Apple, Inc. challenging claims 1-6 and 8 of the Patent.  LG Electronics Inc. (LG) also petitioned to join both of Facebook’s IPRs.

The issue that arose in the appeal, as a result, was whether provisions of 35 U.S.C. § 314(d) on ‘no appeal’ prevented the Court’s review of the Board’s conclusion under the estoppel provisions of § 315(e)(1).  In this instance, the Court found that it was not precluded from reviewing the Board’s estoppel decision and also determined that the Board did not err in finding that LG was not estopped from maintaining its IPR challenge to claims 1–8 and that Facebook was not estopped from challenging claim 7.  The Court also affirmed the Board’s obvious conclusions.

Uniloc also challenged the obviousness determinations, but the Federal Circuit affirmed the Board, finding the decision supported by substantial evidence.

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