Just as it appeared that Research in Motion (RIM) had unveiled a cogent plan
to rejuvenate the company’s troubled fortunes, the Canadian BlackBerry manufacturer has been dealt another blow – one to the tune of $147 million (R1.2 billion).
According to the BBC
, the company has been ordered to pay this hefty fine in damages to Mformation Technologies by a court in San Francisco, for violating that company’s patents.
The patents in question relate to wireless mobile device management, which essentially enables corporations to manage and secure their employees’ phones, upgrade software, make changes to their passwords and delete sensitive data remotely.
The damages were calculated based on past sales of BES-connected BlackBerry smartphones
in the US from late 2008, when the lawsuit was filed, up until the trial date.According to a statement
issued by Mformation, the award does not include future royalties, past and future US government sales, or past and future non-US sales.
“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,” explained Mformation founder and patent inventor Rakesh Kushwaha.
He added that the company ensured that its 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,” he continued.
To the point
The ruling comes in the wake of the company reporting a loss for the first quarter of this year, of a cool $518 million. Additionally, it has been less than two weeks after RIM CEO Thorsten Heins wrote an open letter
, asserting that predicting the company’s demise was premature and arguing that it still had a number of positive attributes on which to depend.
While it’s not clear how significantly or marginally this ruling would impact on RIM’s waning fortunes in the long run, it can hardly be counted as boosting RIM’s morale as the company goes through an increasingly tough time abroad.