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RIM fined £95m in patent case

A San Francisco court has found Research In Motion guilty of infringing on a patent held by Mformation Technologies and awarded the firm $147.2 million (£95 million) in damages.

According to a press release from Mformation, RIM's BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) violates Mformation's patent related to wireless mobile device management.

The damages awarded by the court cover the sale of BES-connected BlackBerry devices sold from October 2008, when the lawsuit was filed. The verdict does 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 a statement. "Our patents are a core part of our innovative products, and are fundamental to the methods used for device management in the market today."

Kushwaha said Mformation's technology is "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."

In a statement, RIM said it "is disappointed by the outcome and is evaluating all legal options. Additionally, the trial judge has yet to decide certain legal issues that might impact the verdict. RIM will await those rulings before deciding whether to pursue an 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 statement continued.

The ruling comes shortly after Nokia filed patent infringement claims against RIM on three additional patents in a Munich court, according to patent blogger Florian Mueller. In early May, Nokia sued HTC, RIM, and ViewSonic in the US and Germany for infringing on 45 of its patents.

RIM has been struggling mightily to compete against Google's Android and Apple's iOS in the smartphone space. Recently, however, RIM was forced to push back the release of its next-generation BlackBerry 10 operating system from fall 2012 to early 2013, and announced several thousand layoffs.