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Court orders RIM to pay $147m to Mformation in software patent dispute

Warwick Ashford

Research in Motion (RIM) has been ordered to pay $147.2m to Mformation Technologies in damages for patent infringement.

The patent ruling comes at a difficult time as the BlackBerry maker struggles to regain market share and boost declining revenues in the face of increased competition from Apple and Google.

RIM’s share of the global smartphone market fell by more than half to 6.4% in the first quarter, compared with a 59% share for Google's Android and 23% for Apple's iOS, according to analyst IDC.

RIM also reported a first-quarter loss of $518m on revenue of $2.8bn, down 38% from the same quarter a year ago; confirmed that it would cut almost a third of its workforce by the end of 2012; and disclosed that the launch of its BlackBerry 10 platform, initially expected later this year, would be delayed until at least the first quarter of 2013.

A San Francisco federal court jury found BlackBerry Enterprise Server software infringed patents held by mobile device management software maker Mformation.

Mformation Technologies sued RIM in 2008, accusing it of infringement of two patents. The company claimed RIM had used technology disclosed during licensing discussions, but without taking a licence.

RIM denied wrongdoing and said Mformation Technologies' patents were invalid, according to court filings.

After a three-week trial, the jury found that Mformation Technologies had proved RIM should pay a royalty of $8 for each of the 18.4 million units.

However, a lawyer for Mformation Technologies said the jury's damage award is for past sales of devices to US non-government customers only.

Lawyer Amar Thakur, said damages for future sales outside the US and for government customers could increase the amount RIM must pay by two to three times, according to the New York Times.

RIM has responded by filing a request to have the verdict reversed. 

RIM said in a statement: “While the verdict is in favour of Mformation on some claims of the single patent remaining in suit, five of eight claims were found to be invalid. 

"The court still has to decide the question of ‘obviousness’ with respect to the validity of the only patent in suit.”


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