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Meta ordered to pay $175M for patent infringement

Meta Inc. was ordered to pay $175 million on Wednesday for patent infringement. Pool Photo by Hannah McKay/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/b3608fd6b47519f0d46a4eac3440329b/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Meta Inc. was ordered to pay $175 million on Wednesday for patent infringement. Pool Photo by Hannah McKay/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 28 (UPI) -- A federal jury on Wednesday ordered Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, to pay nearly $175 million in damages after ruling that the company infringed on two patents held by a walkie-talkie messaging app founded by a former Army Green Beret.

The patents were held by Voxer Inc., a walkie-talkie messaging app founded by a Tom Katis. The app was launched in 2011 as a way to solve battlefield communications problems. It was named Best Overall App in the First Annual Silicon Valley Business App Awards in 2013.

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Voxer shared its patents and proprietary information with Facebook after the tech giant offered to collaborate with it in 2012.

"When early meetings did not result in an agreement, Facebook identified Voxer as a competitor although Facebook had no live video or voice product at the time," a jury in Texas ruled. "Facebook revoked Voxer's access to key components of the Facebook platform and launched Facebook Live in 2015 followed by Instagram Live in 2016. Both products incorporate Voxer's technologies and infringe its patents."

The Texas jury found that Facebook Live and Instagram Live incorporated two pieces of Voxer's technologies that involve streaming media over networks.

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A spokesman for Meta told TechCrunch that the company would continue to challenge the ruling.

"We believe the evidence at trial demonstrated that Meta did not infringe Voxer's patents," a Meta spokesperson said in the statement. "We intend to seek further relief, including filing an appeal."

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