RIM told to pay $147.2 million in wireless patent lawsuit

gavel“Give me a break!” Four words that may well have left the lips of Research In Motion CEO Thorsten Heins upon hearing that the company has been directed to pay $147.2 million in a patent dispute over software that remotely manages a wireless device over a wireless network.

According to a Reuters report, the case was brought by a New Jersey company called Mformation Technologies and heard before a jury in San Francisco. The $147.2 million figure was arrived at after the verdict stipulated that RIM should pay $8 for every BlackBerry device linked to the Ontario-based company’s enterprise server software, which allows businesses to remotely manage employees’ BlackBerry handsets.

Mformation attorney Amar Thakur said the verdict only applied to US sales and not future or foreign damages.

RIM’s Crystal Roberts said the mobile maker has pending legal motions which could result in the jury’s decision being overturned. “Research In Motion has worked hard to develop its leading-edge BlackBerry technology,” she said in a statement.

The verdict is the latest blow for the handset and tablet maker, which is struggling to regain a foothold in the mobile market after losing out to Apple’s iPhone and Android-powered devices. Data published Thursday showed RIM’s share of the US smartphone market falling to just 8.1 percent, though the company is having more success with its handsets in developing countries.

At the end of last month, RIM announced restructuring plans involving 5,000 jobs cuts in an attempt to make savings of around $1 billion. The news came off the back of dismal financial figures for the first quarter, which saw a 33 percent drop in revenue on the previous quarter.

The company’s CEO, Thorsten Heins, recently wrote a piece for the Globe and Mail in which he attempted to reassure employees, investors and other interested parties that all is not lost for the mobile maker. “As some pundits write RIM’s obituary, the company’s global subscriber base continues to grow, to more than 78 million people in 175 countries. In many of those countries – some of the fastest growing markets in the world – RIM is the top smartphone; and in some, RIM devices account for the top three spots,” Heins wrote.

However, the launch of the company’s next-generation mobile operating system, BlackBerry 10 – supposedly the company’s savior – has been pushed back to early 2013. If RIM’s new BlackBerry 10 devices don’t bring something fresh and exciting to the mobile table, we dread to think what will become of the company – one that was once the world’s leading smartphone manufacturer.


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