RIM lost its patent suit

Troubled mobile phone maker RIM was told to write a cheque to a software outfit which claimed it nicked its ideas.

A federal jury in San Francisco found the BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (RIM) liable for $147.2 million in damages for infringing on patents held by Mformation Technologies.

Amar Thakur, a lawyer for Mformation, was quoted by AP  as saying that the verdict of doom came after a three week trial and a week of deliberations by a jury of eight people.

Mformation sued RIM in October 2008, claiming that the Canadian company infringed on its 1999 invention for remotely managing wireless devices.

Mformation’s software allowed companies to remotely access employee mobile phones to do software upgrades, change passwords or to wipe data from phones.

RIM will have to pay $8 for each of the 18.4 million Blackberry devices that were connected to the Blackberry Enterprise Server, from the day the lawsuit was filed until the time of the trial. After getting his calculator, the pleader figured that added up to $147.2 million.

Thakur told AP that the software was fundamental to the success of RIM.

He must be hoping that RIM pays up quickly and the cheque clears. The outfit is fast running out of money.

The BlackBerry US market share has dropped from 41 percent in 2007 to below four percent in the first three months of this year. For the quarter that ended on June 2, it lost $518 million and its revenue fell 43 percent to $2.8 billion. Any spare cash has gone towards cutting more than 5,000 jobs.