RIM hit with another U.S. patent complaint

BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion Ltd. has been hit with yet another patent-infringement complaint in relation to its handhelds and associated software, and the move could potentially lead to BlackBerry devices and other RIM products being banned from U.S. stores shelves and online storerooms, according to Bloomberg.


Prism Technologies, a patent troll privately-held patent licensing firm based in Nebraska, yesterday filed a U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) complaint against RIM, claiming its BlackBerry Enterprise Solution and, more specifically, a RIM wireless authentication system violate Prism patents, Bloomberg says.


The ITC is a government agency tasked with regulating trade practices in the United States, but unlike a U.S. court, it cannot order organizations to pay out patent-related royalties, according to Bloomberg. Instead, the ITC can block the import of products produced outside U.S. borders.


RIM is currently in the process of challenging a related patent claim in a federal court in Nebraska, Bloomberg says. Software-giant Microsoft was also apparently accused of infringement in the Nebraska suit, but it already settled with Prism.


RIM is no stranger to patent related lawsuits and claims. In fact, the BlackBerry-maker was just recently sued by Klausner Technologies, another patent-holding firm, which charged RIM with infringing on visual voicemail-related patents in its new BlackBerry Bold 9700 smartphone.


RIM also paid out the largest patent related settlement in history back in 2006, when it settled a patent suit with patent-holding firm NTP for $612.5 million. And earlier this year, RIM paid Visto more than a quarter of a billion dollars to settle a patent dispute.


Should the ITC decide to look into Prism’s complaint further, it could take up to 15 months to complete a probe. And RIM could potentially be banned from selling certain BlackBerry products in the United States, though that outcome is very unlikely. The two parties would more likely settle the case before it ever reached that point.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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