updated 12:08 pm EST, Wed November 28, 2012
BlackBerry sales could see halt unless RIM pays Nokia
Research In Motion has lost a contract dispute over Nokia-held patents, one that could see BlackBerry phone sales halted in the event that the Canadian phone manufacturer doesn't pay royalties to Nokia. Nokia revealed today that a Swedish arbitrator had determined that RIM was in breach of contract and would have to pay Nokia royalties before it could sell products featuring wireless local access network technologies.
While the decision signifies a considerable victory for Nokia, which has been looking to leverage its patents into royalty income, it also adds stumbling blocks for RIM, which has struggled much like Nokia while both firms have shed market share. The addition of a Nokia royalty to RIM's operational costs -- as all BlackBerry phones feature WLAN technologies -- could represent a significant financial burden for the Canadian manufacturer, which has been struggling to reduce costs as it retools for the launch of BlackBerry 10.
Nokia had signed a cross-licensing agreement with RIM regarding standards-essential cellular patents in 2003, with an amendment to that deal following in 2008. In March of 2011, RIM sought to arbitrate the deal with Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, arguing that the existing agreement should be extended to cover WLAN patents.