Saturday, July 18, 2009

BlackBerry to pay $267 million to settle patent lawsuit

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd (RIM) will pay $267.5 million to California-based Visto Corp to settle a patent infringement lawsuit.

Visto, which is a wireless e-mail company, had slapped the lawsuit on RIM in a Texas court for patent infringements in 2006.

In its lawsuit, the US company had said that RIM was using its technology without authorisation. Visto's software is used Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom AG's T-Mobile and Sprint Nextel Corp.

But RIM hit back, saying that Visto's patents involved no new inventions. It also filed its counterclaim, leading to a war of lawsuits between the two companies in the US, Canada and Europe.

But RIM and Visto reached an agreement Thursday, with the BlackBerry maker agreeing to pay $267.5 million to settle the case and use Visto's patents in the future.

"The key terms of the settlement involve RIM receiving a perpetual and fully-paid license on all Visto patents, a transfer of certain Visto intellectual property, a one-time payment by RIM of US $ 267.5 million and the parties executing full and final releases in respect of all outstanding worldwide litigation,'' said a statement by the BlackBerry maker here.

The global wireless giant said the settlement will be completed by July 20, 2009.

This is the second time in three years that RIM has to pay a huge amount to settle a patent dispute with another company.

In 2006, the Waterloo-based Canadian giant had paid a whopping $612.5 million to settle a patent dispute with NTP Inc., a Virginia-based patent-holding company.

It had filed the lawsuit against RIM in 2001, claiming that the BlackBerry maker used its patents without authorization to create the push e-mail platform on its smart phones.

After a five-year legal battle, RIM paid $612.5 million to the American company "in full and final settlement of all claims against RIM, as well as for a perpetual, fully-paid up license going forward.''

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