RIM Escapes $150 Million Patent Penalty

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The judge presiding over a patent lawsuit involving RIM has saved the company from having to pay the nearly $150 million verdict handed down by a jury last month. That verdict was the result of a lawsuit filed against RIM in 2008 by a mobile device management software company called Mformation Technologies. This July, a jury awarded Mformation Technologies $147.2 million, finding that RIM software enabling remote management of its BlackBerry devices infringed on Mformation patents.

After the jury's verdict, RIM had filed a motion with the judge for a judgment as a matter of law. The judge has now granted RIM's motion and found that Mformation does not have enough evidence to prove that RIM infringed on its patents. The $147.2 million award was vacated, meaning RIM pays nothing. RIM pointed out in a statement that although Mformation can and may appeal this decision, the jury decision is now moot. If Mformation were to win on appeal an entirely new trial would occur.

“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,” said Steve Zipperstein, chief legal officer at RIM. “The purpose of the patent system is to encourage innovation, but the system is still too often exploited in pursuit of other goals. Many policy makers have already recognized 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.”

This is incredibly good news for a company that is desperately trying to make huge cuts to its expenses. Despite the death watch the media has put on RIM, the company continues to project confidence in its BlackBerry brand, and has an ambitious BlackBerry 10 launch schedule laid out for 2013.

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