Meta was ordered by a federal jury in Austin, Texas to pay $175 million on Thursday for violating two patents held by Voxer, a push-to-talk app originally created to solve battlefield communications problems the founder encountered while serving in Afghanistan, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Before being found guilty, Meta was accused by Voxer of incorporating its proprietary streaming technologies into Facebook Live and Instagram Live. Meta did so after approaching Voxer for its Walkie Talkie app in 2011 for a collaboration, which ended up falling through.
After seeing Voxer’s unique technology, “Facebook identified Voxer as a competitor although Facebook had no live video or voice product at the time,” the court documents stated.
Meta then went on to block Voxer’s access to “key components of the Facebook platform.”
The first patent that Meta violated surrounds a media-streaming system which enables “hybrid digital communications that can be both real-time and time-shifted; and by delivering video communication without first establishing an end-to-end connection over the network between the sender and receiver.”
The second involves similar technology that generates “two or more degraded versions of a streaming video message,” then transmits “an appropriate degraded version to each recipient…by trans-coding the video media of a video message,” the documents show.
A Meta spokesperson publicly disagreed with the claims and the validity of the evidence presented at trial: “We intend to seek further relief, including filing an appeal,” the spokesperson said