In a rare piece of good news for the troubled Research in Motion, a California judge this week threw out a $147.2 million (£94.3 million) patent judgment against the BlackBerry manufacturer.
In reviewing the case, the judge decided that RIM had not infringed on a patent for wireless mobile device management via BlackBerry Enterprise Server and dismissed the multi-million pound fine.
According to RIM, Mformation has the right to appeal. But if Mformation prevails in its appeal, the verdict would not be reinstated. Instead, a new trial would kick off.
In a statement, Mformation said it is "assessing all legal options available to us and will determine the next steps shortly."
"Mformation is deeply disappointed that the court would overturn a jury verdict after a month of trial including a week of thoughtful deliberation by the jury," said Todd DeLaughter, Mformation's CEO. "We steadfastly believe that RIM's BlackBerry Enterprise Server software product infringes Mformation's '917 patent and that courts will ultimately rule in our favour."
"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," Steve Zipperstein, RIM's chief legal officer, said in a statement. "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 recognised 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."
The damages awarded by the court covered the sale of BES-connected BlackBerry devices sold from October 2008, when the lawsuit was filed. The verdict did not include future royalties, US government sales, or international sales, Mformation said.
"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," Mformation founder Rakesh Kushwaha said in July, when the fine was initially handed down. "Our patents are a core part of our innovative products, and are fundamental to the methods used for device management in the market today."
After a tough 2011, RIM has continued to slide in 2012, and in June it confirmed that it had hired strategic advisors to "help the company examine ways to leverage the BlackBerry platform through partnerships, licensing opportunities and strategic business model alternatives."
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