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Facebook files patent infringement suit in California

Two companies — one based in the U.S. and one based outside the country –seem to be engaged in a back-and-forth patent infringement dispute. Mitel Networks initially brought a patent infringement case against California-based Facebook Inc. last April. In its initial lawsuit, the company claimed that Facebook had infringed upon two of Mitel’s patents. Mitel’s lawsuit further alleged that Facebook had failed to respond to communication attempts made by the other company.

That company’s original lawsuit apparently sought infringement damages in whatever amount the court deemed reasonable. Facebook, on the other hand, apparently responded to those infringement charges by making some of their own. The company filed its own patent infringement lawsuit in a U.S. District Court within the state of California, claiming that jurisdiction is appropriate.

Facebook maintained that Mitel’s filing the lawsuit in Delaware was not appropriate. Facebook makes that claim based upon the fact it is based in California, and Mitel has a principal business located in Arizona, with its office in California, and not Delaware. In addition to its argument that Mitel’s filing suit in Delaware was inappropriate, Facebook also claimed that the other company’s patent infringement suit was without merit. Facebook also alleged that Mitel had actually infringed upon two of its patents instead.

This back-and-forth patent infringement case winding through the Delaware and California courts should prove interesting for other companies to watch. It involves both an American juggernaut — Facebook — and a Canadian-based company. The fact that lawsuits have been filed in two different jurisdictions adds a further complexity to the issue, since it’s not immediately clear which court will prevail from a jurisdictional standpoint. It’s likely that more back-and-forth court motions will occur before the dust finally settles.

Source: ValueWalk, “Facebook Counters Mitel Network Patent Lawsuit with Two AOL Patents,” Marie Cabural, Aug. 10, 2012

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