Struggling Blackberry maker Research in Motion (RIM) has been ordered to pay $147.2m to mobile device management (MDM) solutions provider Mformation for infringing upon its wireless MDM patents.
The US Federal District Court of Northern California has ruled that RIM’s BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) software, which is used by corporate enterprise customers to manage and secure their BlackBerry devices, infringed upon Mformation’s registered designs.
The $147.2m damages ordered were based on past sales of BES-connected BlackBerry smartphones in the US from late 2008, when the lawsuit was filed, through the trial date.
“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,” said patent inventor and Mformation founder and CTO Rakesh Kushwaha.
“We ensured that our early innovations in device management were put through rigorous legal assessment by applying for patents on these innovations in the United States and abroad. Now these patented technologies are central to many critical mobile device management tasks being used by operators, service providers and enterprises around the world, including remote device configuration, lock/wipe and application management.”
The firm’s lead attorney, Amar Thakur of Foley & Lardner, LLP, added that the ruling showed that the legal system worked and said that “inventors everywhere should feel encouraged by the court’s decision.”
RIM said in a statement that it was disappointed by the outcome and is “evaluating all legal options”, and said that it is waiting for the trial judge to decide “certain legal issues” that may yet impact the verdict before deciding whether or not to appeal.
“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,” the Canadian firm said.
RIM’s recent struggles have been considerable and the firm recorded a net loss of $518m in its first fiscal quarter of 2013, which ended June 2, 2012. It has hired banks JP Morgan and RBC Capital to conduct a far-reaching strategic review of its business, and instructed them to look for partnerships for the business. RIM also announced plans earlier this year to cut a “significant” number of jobs.