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RIM Hit with $147 Million Verdict in Wireless Patent Lawsuit

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By Deanne Katz, Esq. on July 17, 2012 6:03 AM

Research in Motion has lost a significant patent lawsuit just a few weeks after it posted its first operating loss in eight years.

The suit, filed by Mformation Technologies, claims that RIM infringed on a patent for wireless device management reports Reuters. The ruling from the jury comes at a hard time for the Blackberry-maker which has struggled to keep its share price up.

Shares in the company have dropped to about $8 from a high of more than $30 almost a year ago according to Huffington Post.

The jury ruled that RIM owes $8 in royalties for every device sold with the infringing technology. Even though the company's popularity has declined somewhat in the last few years, that still adds up to a lot of money.

With 18.4 million units sold, the total amount of the settlement is $147.2 Million.

That award doesn't include future royalties which could add up to even more money if a court decides Mformation is entitled to additional compensation later on.

RIM argued in the suit that Mformation's patents claims were invalid because the patented processes were being used before Mformation applied for patent protection, reports Reuters.

The jury didn't agree with this analysis although it would defeat a patent claim if proven.

It is interesting that this case was decided by a jury. Patent infringement suits often are dealt with by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office without ever reaching federal court.

It's unclear whether RIM will appeal. Right now they're waiting for rulings on several legal issues that may affect the case according to Huffington Post.

If RIM does decide to challenge the patent lawsuit, it could end up using money that is needed elsewhere. Still, a successful appeal could provide a morale boost for the much-talked-about BlackBerry 10, expected to launch in 2013.

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