updated 06:30 pm EDT, Thu August 9, 2012
Found not infringing Mformation Technologies patent
Canadian smartphone maker Research in Motion got a welcome break of good news today as a US District Court judge overturned a $147.2 million jury award and finding that the BlackBerry maker infringed on a patent from New Jersey-based Mformation Technologies. Judge James Ware also granted RIM's motion granting a new trial if his ruling is overturned, meaning the jury award is permanently tossed even if Mformation is able to appeal the ruling. The patent in question covered remote management for wireless devices.
The judge in the appeal accepted RIM's argument that the jury in the original trial did not have sufficient evidence to reach the verdict they did. "The court finds that there was no 'legally sufficient evidentiary basis' on which a reasonable jury could have found for Mformation on the issue of the infringement," wrote Judge Ware, who is the chief justice for that district court.
Mformation sued RIM in 2008, with the jury trial starting in June and ending a month later with the $8-per-device award for RIM's infringing on 18.4 million units, which totalled $147.2 million. The original royalty award was just for past sales, and would have continued with ongoing sales, costing the company millions more over time. Mformation CEO Todd DeLaughter said the company was "deeply disappointed" that the court overturned a jury verdict and that the company was weighing its legal options.
Steve Zipperstein, RIM's chief legal officer, said that its case highlights the need for patent reform, saying that while patents are intended to encourage innovation, the system is "still too often exploited in pursuit of other goals."