Feature Article

July 16, 2012

RIM Asked to Pay $147 Million for Infringing Mformation's Software Patents

As BlackBerry maker, Research In Motion (RIM) struggles to make a comeback, it continues to battle patent infringement lawsuits.  The BlackBerry maker’s latest defense is against software developer Mformation Technologies. In fact, RIM has been found liable for $147.2 million in damages for infringing patents held by Mformation Technologies. The verdict came late last Friday after the trial lasted three weeks.

According to the New York Times report, the Jurors have determined that Mformation has proved, in a federal court in San Francisco, that the RIM software which lets companies manage workers’ BlackBerry devices remotely infringed Mformation’s patents. The software is called BlackBerry Enterprise Server.

According to NYT, in 2008, mobile device management software maker, Mformation accused RIM for infringing two of its patents. Mformation said that it had disclosed details of the technology to RIM during a licensing discussion. After declining to license the software, RIM modified its software to include the disputed patents, Mformation said in its complaint.

However, the report indicates that RIM has denied wrongdoing, saying that the patents were invalid. Nevertheless, the report says that the jury found that Mformation proved that RIM should pay a royalty of $8 for each of the 18.4 million units. Thus, accounting for a total payment of $147.2 million, wrote NYT.

Mformation lawyer, Amar Thakur stated that the jury’s damage award is for royalties on past sales of devices to American customers excluding those in the government. Thakur added, “Damages for future sales outside the United States and for government customers could increase the amount RIM must pay by two to three times.”

Meanwhile, RIM spokeswoman Crystal Roberts has requested before the federal court to reverse the verdict. “While the verdict is in favor of Mformation on some claims of the single patent remaining in suit, five of eight claims were found to be invalid,” Ms. Roberts said in an e-mail statement. “The court still has to decide the question of ‘obviousness’ with respect to the validity of the only patent in suit,” added Ms. Roberts.

Want to learn more about patents in the telecom industry? Then be sure to attend Synopsis Under IP/Patents Telecom Sourcing Conference (SUITS), collocated with ITEXPO West 2012 taking place Oct. 2-5, in Austin, TX. The SUITS Conference is launched to advance the legal knowledge of innovators of telecommunications including developers, implementers, licenses, licensors, end users, carriers and enterprise patents. Learn how to be aware and prepare to protect your most valuable assets, individual and company patents and intellectual property stored in the Patent Eco System or being held for security. For more information on registering for the SUITS Conference, click here.

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Edited by Brooke Neuman

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