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

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
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

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.

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