RIM let off $147m hook as judge overturns Mformation ruling

RIM let off $147m hook as judge overturns Mformation ruling

Summary: A jury was wrong to find last month that the BlackBerry firm infringed on Mformation's remote device management patent, a Californian judge has established

TOPICS: Patents, BlackBerry

A US judge has overturned a ruling last month, in which a jury said Research In Motion had infringed on a patent held by the device management firm Mformation.

In July, a Californian jury said RIM should pay Mformation $147.2m (£94m) because BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) infringed on an Mformation patent covering remove device management from a server. The figure was based on a retrospective royalty of $8 per BES unit sold.

However, RIM appealed, and on Thursday it said Judge James Ware had agreed with it, "concluding that the evidence did not support the jury's finding of patent infringement".

This means RIM does not have to pay the $147.2m, which is fortunate as the company is already in dire financial straits.

"We appreciate the Judge's careful consideration of this case. RIM did not infringe on Mformation's patent and we are pleased with this victory," RIM chief legal officer Steve Zipperstein said in a statement.

Although Mformation is not a 'non-practicing entity', RIM's lawyer appeared to frame its legal action as part of a wider patent litigation problem.

"The purpose of the patent system is to encourage innovation, but the system is still too often exploited in pursuit of other goals," Zipperstein said. "Many policy makers have already recognised the need to address this problem and we call on others to join them as this case clearly highlights the significant need for continuing policy reform to help reduce the amount of resources wasted on unwarranted patent litigation."

Mformation can appeal, but that would lead to a new trial rather than the jury's verdict being reinstated.

Topics: Patents, BlackBerry

David Meyer

About David Meyer

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't pay the bills. David's main focus is on communications, as well as internet technologies, regulation and mobile devices.

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  • So just exactly what is the point...

    ...of spending untold huge sums of taxpayers' money on a Jury trial...if the judge can then overturn the jury's verdict? Not too mention WASTING the jurors' time.

    If the judge didn't give the jurors explicit enough instructions on what it coudn't or couldn't find as fact in this case...then maybe the judge should find another line of work.

    Stuff like this is why I have such a wonderful opinion of the judicial system in the US. It's a joke.
  • Patent Law Isn't a One Day Course..

    In many cases, trial by jury makes complete sense (especially in criminal cases where the laws are better understood and typically, much clearer about you committed a crime or not) but patent law is so convoluted that you can't expect Joe Smith to fully understand it, even if you spend hours reviewing it with him.

    I don't think it cost the city that much, but I do think the Jury piece should be skipped entirely in patent cases.