Patent lawsuit delivers new charges to RIM

Waterloo, Ont.-based Research in Motion Ltd. (RIM) announced on Monday that it could be facing an extra US$19.25 million in additional charges in a patent infringement dispute with NTP Inc.

A brief statement was made by RIM following a Richmond, Va. U.S. Federal District Court ruling made on Friday.

The company said the court awarded 80 per cent of attorney fees to Arlington, Va.-based NTP. At the same time, RIM said the court denied a request from NTP to triple its initial compensatory damages of US$23.1 million and instead ordered the award increased by a factor of 0.5.

RIM said it would now record an “incremental accounting provision of approximately US$13.75 million to US$14.25 million to account for the enhancement to compensatory damages.” In addition to the damage claim, the company also said it would record approximately US$5 million for legal fees.

The legal battle between RIM and NTP began in November 2001, over a complaint filed by NTP. The complaint alleged that RIM’s BlackBerry e-mail device infringed on eight patents held by NTP that cover the use of radio frequency wireless communications in electronic mail systems.

To account for the new ruling and cover the cost of the compensation awarded to NTP, RIM said it would increase its accounting provision to between US$58.25 million to US$58.75 million in the current fiscal year. RIM said it was estimating an increase of up to US$9 million in the first quarter of 2004 to incorporate enhanced compensatory damages and post-judgement interest.

RIM said Monday the jury verdict, ruling, damages and other awards are still subject to appeal, and that litigation between the two companies remains before the court.