Meta has to pay walkie-talkie app $174 million for infringing on its patents, jury says

  • Meta has been locked in a legal fight with a walkie-talkie app company called Voxer since 2020.
  • Voxer accused Meta of infringing its patents with Facebook Live and Instagram Live.
  • A jury ruled in favor of Voxer Wednesday and ordered Meta to pay $174.5 million in damages.

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A jury in an Austin, Texas court ruled in favor of walkie-talkie app company Voxer after it accused Meta of infringing on its patents, a court document viewed by Insider shows.

Voxer first filed its lawsuit against Meta in the US in 2020, back when the tech giant was still called Facebook. The companies’ legal fight over intellectual property went international, as the two companies also took the case to court in London in 2021, as reported by The Register.

The jury ordered Meta to pay Voxer $174.5 million in damages, and struck down attempts by Meta to have Voxer’s patents invalidated.

Voxer said in its initial 2020 complaint that its founder, an army veteran named Tom Katis, began developing communications tech in 2006 after witnessing shortcomings in walkie-talkie technology while serving in Afghanistan. It said he launched the Voxer app in 2011.

The complaint said Facebook representatives got in touch with Voxer in 2012 to discuss a potential collaboration.

Voxer’s complaint says the companies never entered into any sort of partnership, and Facebook revoked Voxer’s rights to features such as “find friends” via its platform.

It also accused Facebook of using communications technology patented by Voxer in its Facebook Live and Instagram Live features.

“We believe the evidence at trial demonstrated that Meta did not infringe Voxer’s patents,” a Meta spokesperson told Insider.

The spokesperson added Meta intends to file an appeal.

Insider was not immediately able to find a press contact for Voxer.

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