Aside from being the maker of the popular BlackBerry devices, RIM is known throughout the patent industry as the poster child for those who are sued by non-practicing entities, having lost over $600 million to NTP. This historic settlement between RIM and NTP was achieved on Friday, March 3, 2006 giving RIM a license on the NTP patents moving forward. The final weeks leading up to this monumental settlement were marked by quite a lot of posturing, but ultimately everything was resolved and BlackBerrys around the U.S. did not go silent.
RIM is now back in the news at the end of last week for another patent infringement matter, this time being found liable for patent infringement for infringing Mformation Technologies, Inc.’s patent related to wireless mobile device management. The patent — U.S. Patent No. 6,970,917 — relates to a method, system and associated software that provides the capability to manage, control, and reconfigure wireless devices remotely over a wireless network with acceptable reliability and security. After setting an $8.00 per unit royalty, the jury awarded Mformation $147.2 million dollars in damages based on past sales of BES-connected BlackBerry smartphones in the US from late 2008, when the lawsuit was filed, through the trial date. There were 18.4 million units found to infringe. See Jury Verdict.
The software found to infringe Mformation’s patent is RIM’s BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES), used by corporate enterprise customers to manage and secure their BlackBerry devices. The court 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. Our patents are a core part of our innovative products, and are fundamental to the methods used for device management in the market today,” said patent inventor and Mformation founder/CTO Rakesh Kushwaha. “We ensured that our 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. With a total of 27 patents granted or pending, our IP portfolio will allow us to continue to shape the future of the Mobile Device Management market.”