Rim offered expensive patent settlement in Blackberry battle


Rim offered expensive patent settlement in Blackberry battle

Antony Savvas

RIM is believed to have been offered an expensive patent settlement deal by NTP to stave off a closure of its US BlackBerry push e-mail network.

The long-running legal battle started after NTP accused RIM of infringing some of its patents in the BlackBerry automatic mobile e-mail system.

According to reports, NTP has asked RIM for a cash sum and 5.7% of its US sales to settle the dispute. RIM is eager to settle after a previous $450m (£265m) settlement was rejected as unenforceable by a US court.

Analyst Gartner has already recommended that companies should hold off from adopting the Blackberry system for mission critical applications, until a settlement is found.

A closure of the US network would affect US companies, international companies and foreign users who roam on the US BlackBerry network. 

RIM's last financial year ending February saw it generate £1.35bn in sales, with $914m being generated in the US. If NTP’s proposal was accepted by RIM, it would have paid NTP over $52m in the last financial year.

With RIM’s sales increasing rapidly it may not be keen to sign an annual deal. The last proposed settlement involved a one-off payment. However, if RIM can’t find a solution to the problem, it risks a US court imposing an injunction and closing its US network within weeks.

RIM has disputed some of NTP’s patents held with the US Patent Office, but an investigation by the Patent Office could take years to complete and the court has indicated it will not wait for the results before making a judgement.

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