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April 03, 2012

NXP Affiliate Sues RIM Over Patent Infringement

By Ashok Bindra, TMCnet Contributor

International multimedia news agency Reuters (News - Alert) reports that a Dutch semiconductor company on Tuesday filed a patent infringement suit against the BlackBerry maker.

Research In Motion (RIM) Ltd. An affiliate of NXP Semiconductors (News - Alert) NV, the Dutch company alleges that versions of RIM's BlackBerry phone and PlayBook tablet infringed on patents issued to it between 1997 and 2008. The report indicates that the patents in question relate to design, data transmission and other features of the devices.

The Reuters report states that NXP is demanding a halt to the alleged infringements and seeks to recover what it claims as lost profit, reasonable royalties and damages for deliberate infringements. However, NXP has not specified a dollar amount it is seeking from struggling Blackberry maker, according to Reuters. Media reports indicate that in the past one year, RIM’s share price has dropped significantly as its market share erodes.

The report quotes Alex Poltorak of patent consulting firm General Patent Corp, as saying, "It's a lawsuit aimed at extracting some money from RIM at a time when RIM is most vulnerable."

According to Reuters reporters Jonathan Stempel and Alastair Sharp (News - Alert), “RIM is no stranger to patent litigation. It was almost brought to its knees by a five-year patent fight that began in 2001 and at one point threatened to shut down RIM's U.S. operations. RIM eventually paid out more than $600 million to NTP Inc, a patent holding company, to settle the case.”

NXP filed its lawsuit on Monday in the U.S. District Court in Orlando, Florida. RIM plans to hold its annual BlackBerry (News - Alert) World conference there in early May. However, the report shows that a RIM spokeswoman declined to comment on Tuesday, citing the company's policy of not discussing litigation.

RIM is up against competition from Apple iPhones and iPads, as well as smartphones and tablets powered by Google’s (News - Alert) Android operating system. Consequently, in over a year, the BlackBerry maker has watched its once-dominant position erode sharply with the emergence of new players.

Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli
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