The U.S. International Trade Commission has said it will investigate claims by Prism Technologies that BlackBerry maker Research In Motion violates a Prism patent (6,516,416) related to multi-factor authentication over untrusted, public networks. If the complaint is upheld, it could potentially lead to BlackBerry devices being pulled from the U.S. market, although few industry watchers expect the situation would get that far out of hand.
RIM has, so far, declined to comment on the ITC investigation.
Nebraska-based Prism Technologies is routinely described as a patent troll; it is claiming RIM’s BlackBerry Enterprise Solution and a wireless authentication system. RIM is currently in the process of challenging a similar patent claim from Prism in Nebraska; that complaint also apparently named Microsoft as an infringer, but the software giant apparently reached a settlement with Prism and exited the lawsuit.
RIM is no stranger to patent infringement suits; back in 2006, the company paid nearly $613 million to NTP to settle a patent dispute—that remains the largest patent-related settlement in history—and in 2007 paid nearly $270 million to Visto to settle another patent dispute.
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