RIM, Motorola Settle Patent Dispute

Motorola and BlackBerry maker RIM have agreed to settle a patent dispute Motorola brought to the Federal Trade Commission earlier this year, claiming RIM’s BlackBerry phones infringed on five of its patents. Under the settlement, RIM will be paying Motorola an undisclosed amount of money up front and enter into a broad, long-term patent cross-licensing deal with RIM. Further terms were not disclosed, but the Motorola says it will be receiving royalties from the arrangement.

The patents covered under the cross-licensing arrangement cover a broad range of technologies, including 2G, 3G, and 4G services, Wi-Fi, and wireless email capabilities. Motorola had asked the FTC to block U.S. imports of RIM devices it claimed were violating the patents.

The agreement may be a shot in the arm for Motorola, which is struggling to reclaim a spot in the top ranks of mobile phone makers after the years-ago success of its thin RAZR feature phones. Now, the industry is largely aligned behind smartphones, and Motorola has pinned many of its hopes on Google’s Android platform. In the meantime, the success of the BlackBerry product line has propelled RIM to now be the world’s fourth largest maker of mobile phones.

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