BlackBerry maker RIM loses patent dispute with Nokia
By Tarmo Virki
HELSINKI (Reuters) - BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd (RIM) has lost a dispute over the use of Nokia Oyj patents, in a case which could halt the sale of RIM products if it does not reach a new royalties deal with the Finnish company.
The Swedish arbitrator ruled RIM was not entitled to make or sell mobile devices which can hook up to WiFi networks - using technology known in the trade as WLAN or wireless local access network systems - without first agreeing royalties with Nokia.
"RIM is liable to pay royalties and damages to Nokia for its ... sales of any subscriber terminals (handsets or tablets) ... compatible with the WLAN standard," the arbitrator said in the ruling, issued on November 6 but not publicized until Wednesday.
"RIM has not contested that it manufactures and sells products using WLAN in accordance with Nokia's WLAN patents," it added.
The decision is a boost for Nokia which is trying to increase its royalty income as its phone business slides, and the group said it had filed cases in the United States, Britain and Canada to enforce the arbitrator's ruling.
"This could have a significant financial impact to RIM, as all BlackBerry devices support WLAN," IDC analyst Francisco Jeronimo said.
A RIM spokesman declined comment.
A source close to RIM said the arbitration ruling was unlikely to have any immediate ramifications, as Nokia still has to fight a number of legal battles for the arbitration panel's ruling to be recognized in different countries. Continued...