Court orders RIM to pay US$147.2m

A US jury has ordered the struggling RIM to pay US$147.2 million in damages for infringing on the patents of Mformation Technologies.

A California jury returned a verdict over the weekend ordering BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) to pay Mformation Technologies US$147.2 million in damages for infringing on its patents.

Mformation took RIM to court, alleging that the BlackBerry Enterprise Server software infringed on a patent held by Mformation concerning the remote management of devices from a server.

The jury ruled that RIM should be forced to pay a royalty of US$8 for each of the 18.4 million units sold, for a total of US$147.2 million.

In a statement, RIM said that it is disappointed by the outcome, and is evaluating its options.

"RIM has worked hard for many years to independently develop its leading-edge BlackBerry technology and industry-leading intellectual property portfolio, and RIM does not believe that the Mformation patent in question is valid."

The company said that it will await the decision of the trial judge on some outstanding legal issues before deciding whether to proceed with an appeal.

Mformation's founder and chief technology officer said that Mformation created the mobile device-management market in the 1990s, and the patents held by the company are legitimate.

"We ensured that our early innovations in device management were put through rigorous legal assessment by applying for patents on these innovations in the United States and abroad," he said in a statement.

"Now, these patented technologies are central to many critical mobile device-management tasks being used by operators, service providers and enterprises around the world, including remote device configuration, lock/wipe and application management. With a total of 27 patents granted or pending, our IP portfolio will allow us to continue to shape the future of the mobile device-management market."

Bloomberg has reported that RIM may be expected to continue paying damages for the patents based on the sale of future devices that use the BlackBerry Enterprise Server software. This comes at a particularly tough point for RIM, as the company recently reported a first-quarter loss of US$518 million, amid cutting 5000 workers in a move designed to save the struggling BlackBerry maker.


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