Nokia licks RIM with Blackberry ban threat

Two struggling phone makers are set to lock horns in court as Nokia seeks to ban some Blackberry devices from the shelf over a patent dispute.

Computerworld got the scoop on Nokia asking a San Jose court to enforce an arbitration award, which would stop RIM from selling any of its devices that have wireless LAN, which is most of its phones. Nokia is looking for royalty payments.

If Nokia wins the award, it could effectively freeze RIM out of the US market, as it argues Finland, Canada, Sweden and the USA all signed the 1958 New York Convention on international arbitration.

Both must have been feeling left out of the tedious court action that HTC, Samsung, Apple, Microsoft, Motorola and Google have been filing against each other and making headlines with in recent memory.

RIM licensed Nokia patents in a 2003 agreement, which is not included in this petition, however the court action is about the patents in it, according to ComputerWorld. A tribunal later declared Nokia had intended to licence more than essential patents.

With Nokia and RIM both perpetually teetering on the brink of meltdown, surely neither would be keen on expensive court action. Both are performing relatively well in emerging markets, so a wider sales ban could be a deciding blow. 

Nokia’s threat is unfortunately timely. RIM was just getting ready to release its flagship Blackberry 10 devices that will either make or break the company. If it can’t sell them in major markets like the US, the outcome doesn’t look good for the troubled phone maker.