The hits keep on comin’ for Research In Motion. The latest blast against the Waterloo-based company sees them paying out $147.2 million in a patent litigation case against Mformation, a mobile device management firm.
A U.S. court handed down the ruling on Friday.
Mformation brought the suit against RIM in 2008. The claim was against RIM’s use of a patent on a process that remotely manages a wireless device over a wireless network.
After the decision was laid out, RIM responded by saying they were disappointed in the conclusion reached by U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and were “evaluating all legal options.” “RIM has worked hard for many years to independently develop its leading-edge BlackBerry technology and industry-leading intellectual property portfolio, and RIM does not believe that the Mformation patent in question is valid,” it said in the statement.
“While the verdict is in favor of MFormation on some claims of the single patent remaining in suit, five of eight claims were found to be invalid,” Crystal Roberts, a RIM spokeswoman, said in an email to Bloomberg. “The court still has to decide the question of ‘Obviousness’ with respect to the validity of the only patent in suit.”
Amar Thakur, an attorney for Mformation, noted that the jury had RIM pay out $8 million for every device connected to the company’s enterprise server software. The deal only covers U.S.-based sales, not future or foreign interactions, which means that the amount of damages could increase when those numbers are added to the pile.
Mformation is headquartered in New Jersey and has offices around the world.
“Mformation created the mobile device management category in the late 1990s and was innovating in this area well before most of the market understood the fundamental importance of wireless mobility management,” company founder Rakesh Kushwaha said in a statement. “Our patents are a core part of our innovative products, and are fundamental to the methods used for device management in the market today.”
This probably couldn’t have come at a worse time for RIM, a company barely hanging in there. A recent rash of layoffs and news that the company would be operating a loss stung shareholders, but the delay of BlackBerry 10 seemed to be the nail in the coffin. There’s no word on how or if this settlement will impact the release of the next-gen suite of phones from RIM. For now, the company has been standing by a January 2013 release.