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Optical/IP

Moto & RIM in Patent Spat

Another year, another major lawsuit battle for Canadian mobile email maven BlackBerry . This time the BlackBerry maker has locked antenna with handset rival Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) over patent and royalty issues.

Motorola initally filed a suit against RIM, alleging that the Waterloo, Ontario-based device maker had violated some of its patents.

RIM fired back with a suit claiming that Motorola, the world's third largest cellphone manufacturer, is violating nine RIM patents and refusing to negotiate an extension to a licensing agreement beyond January 2008. (See Moto, RIM in Patent Face Off.)

These latest legal wranglings for RIM follow several years of patent issues and other cases for the company.

Its main legal spat was finally settled in May 2006 when RIM paid NTP Software Inc. a lump sum of $612.5 million after years of appealing a patent infringment suit that NTP won in 2002. The case was notable because it threatened to shut down RIM's wireless email service in North America. (See RIM, NTP Come to Terms.) RIM followed that drawn-out case with an injunction against Samsung Corp. in December 2006. RIM wanted to stop Samsung's then-new "Blackjack" line of smartphones, claiming that consumers might confuse the name with its ever-popular BlackBerry phones. (See RIM Sees Black.) Motorola has had its own share of lawsuits during the past decade, most notably a long-running dispute with Turkish operator Telsim and a spat with Russian vendor RussGPS in 2006.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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