Could the tide of misfortune that has engulfed Research in Motion (RIM) finally be turning?
Whether it marks the beginning of the company’s comeback or not, no doubt the Canadian company will welcome the latest ruling
from a judge in California, who has overturned the previous guilty verdict in a patent case brought by Mformation against it last month
Along with finding that that evidence did not support a jury’s previous finding, and that RIM had not infringed on the company’s patent, the judge also spared the BlackBerry manufacturer from shelling out $147.2 million (R1 177 million) to Mformation.
The San Francisco-based company had asserted that RIM had violated its patents, which related to wireless mobile device management. This enables corporations to manage and secure their employees’ phones, upgrade software, make changes to their passwords and delete sensitive data remotely.
In a court case held in July, a jury agreed, and issued a hefty multimillion dollar award. Thanks to the judge’s new ruling, granted after RIM appealed for a judgment as a matter of law, RIM will not have to pay Mformation after all.
Mformation still has the right to appeal the judge's ruling, but if its appeal is successful, the jury verdict would not be reinstated. Instead, a new trial would occur.
To the point
"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," commented Steve Zipperstein, RIM's chief legal officer.
Zipperstein also had some choice, thinly veiled words for how patents have been used this year, as a battleground on which technology companies have waged a bloodless, but no less vicious, war.
"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," he concluded.
In recent news, RIM unveiled its BlackBerry 10 operating system at its BlackBerry 10 Jam World Tour, providing developers in Cape Town with a sneak peak of their impending new OS.