Judge Sides With RIM In Mformation Patent Ruling
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
RIM has had to put up with a bevy of bad news lately. First, the entire market suddenly changed on them somewhere in the middle of 2007. In the following years, they’ve seen their marketshare and profits slip as a result of poor commercial sales and the increasing popularity of those pesky “Bring Your Own Device” policies in the enterprise sector, once a dominant foothold for the Canadian company. Since then, they’ve seen their own nation turn against them, their co-CEOs jump ship, and embarrassingly poor sales of their tablet. On top of all this, they’ve yet to ship their new OS, which many RIM sympathizers have said will help put the BlackBerry maker back in the game.
When things have gone so pear shaped, it’s nice to win one occasionally. Therefore, if RIM were a guy who just got laid off and had stopped by his local tavern to lose some of his misery in a pint or three, US Judge James Ware is the bartender who gives him a shot of whiskey on the house.
Judge Ware ruled Wednesday that RIM had not infringed upon some patents owned by Mformation Technologies Inc. In fact, Judge Ware even overturned an award of $147.2 million that a jury had decided RIM would have to pay.
This suit goes all the way back to 2008 when Mformation sued RIM on claims that they infringed upon a patent involving the way devices are remotely managed over a wireless network.
Last month, a jury in California came to the conclusion that RIM should have to pay an $8 royalty fee to Mformation for every device connected to their enterprise server software, thus the $147.2 million fine.
RIM had argued that Mformation’s patent claims were invalid, saying they had been using these sort of remote management processes before Mformation ever filed for their patent.
Mformation still has the opportunity to appeal this decision, of course, though they will have to go through the legal process once more, incurring yet another trial and selecting yet another jury. Since this case began in 2008, Mformation will have their patience tested if they choose to appeal.
RIM’s chief legal officer Steve Zipperstein is understandably pleased with Judge Ware’s decision, of course, issuing this statement:
“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.”
“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.”
Whenever RIM finally slinks off its bar stool this evening, however, they’ll have to face reality once more: Their stock has fallen by more than 70% in the past year, and each of their competitors have some huge devices ready to be released this year, further widening the gap between themselves and Android, Apple and even Windows Phone.
On the bright side, RIM’s falling numbers may have helped them out slightly in this case. After all, what if they had Apple-like numbers on their enterprise servers? That $8 per device tab could have been astronomical!