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RIM Facing $147.2 Million Patent Verdict 77

An anonymous reader writes "Reuters reports that beleaguered wireless device maker Research In Motion is on the losing end of a patent suit that will cost them $147.2 million. The jury arrived at that number by assigning an $8 royalty for every BlackBerry connected to RIM's enterprise server software. Unsurprisingly, RIM intends to appeal the decision. 'Mformation sued RIM in 2008, bringing claims on a patent for a process that remotely manages a wireless device over a wireless network, a court filing says. According to its web site, Mformation helps corporations manage their smart phone inventory. The company also says it helps telecoms operators, such as AT&T and Sprint, with remote fixes and upgrades for users' gadgets. RIM argued that Mformation's patent claims are invalid because the processes were already being used when Mformation filed its patent application.'"
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RIM Facing $147.2 Million Patent Verdict

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 14, 2012 @01:42PM (#40649803)

    RIM's lawyers have asked if they can pay the penalty based on current usage. That would bring the verdict down to $72.

  • Out of curiosity where would this patent plaintiff stand in order of having access to RIM assets if they where to file for bankruptcy? Assuming that RIM goes bankrupt tomorrow so before a new trial begins etc. I hope they are at the end of the line.
    • by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Saturday July 14, 2012 @02:56PM (#40650303) Homepage

      RIM has $2b in cash and is doing well in some offbeat markets like Indonesia. They have problems but they aren't likely to go broke.

      • by Octorian ( 14086 ) on Saturday July 14, 2012 @03:33PM (#40650525) Homepage

        Shh... You're not supposed to contradict the popular consensus that RIM is $80B in debt, went bankrupt 6 months ago, and plans to sell half the company next week, and liquidate the rest by the end of the month.

        I think you're also supposed to throw in some collection of jabs against whatever phone they sold 4-5 years ago that you didn't like, and how they're still selling it as part of their current portfolio and not working on anything newer.

        • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

          by magsk ( 1316183 )
          I dont know why i got flaimbait, I was genuine in my question. Especially since it was hypothetical. If a company goes bankrupt after being sued and losing, where does that plaintiff stand in order of having rights to the bankrupt companies assets?
          • by jbolden ( 176878 )

            The judgement becomes a claimant in the bankruptcy.

            Say a company has $3b in assets, $2b in debts and loses a $4b suit. They go into bankruptcy. During the bankruptcy they lose $200m in senior debt.

            The company then is restructured one of two ways:
            a) The plaintiff gets 66% (3b in assets / $4b suit) of the stock of a company with $3b in assets and $200b in debt
            b) The plaintiff gets 66% of the $2.8b after liquidation

      • by Anonymous Coward
        sales growth -7%, profit growth -65%. currently trading at 20% of their peak for the last 12 months and about 5% for the last 3 years and even at these record lows they are still rated as a SELL. They are shedding a large percentage of their staff and currently making an annual loss and have a market cap of under 4bn. they are pretty close to a junk share, trading at slightly under 2 times cash on hand and it is still going down. hmmmmm yeah that sounds like a healthy company, while they may not go broke so
        • by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Saturday July 14, 2012 @11:37PM (#40653139) Homepage

          Gross profits for the last year is $6.5b
          That gives them EBITDA of $2.4b
          after all the write downs they lost $50m

          And btw those write downs include settlements on the employees they laid off. That's not great it is not however a company dying quickly on the verge of bankruptcy. It is a company working through issues. Lets not overstate the problems.

          The market is very concerned about their execution and with good reason. That's far short of bankruptcy though. As an aside any stock trading for a 1/3rd of book with only product problems, I'd happily buy and take my chances.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    So, even if there is prior art, now that is a worthless argument against a patent?

    If so, then the American tech industry is completely screwed. I LIKE IT!

    • by Idbar ( 1034346 )
      Prior art? Are you sure it had "wireless " AND "mobile " and "network " and "remote " and and ... err "Internet "??
    • by Fjandr ( 66656 )

      Not to mention it wouldn't take someone skilled in the art to see managing wireless devices would more than likely be done ... drumroll ... wirelessly!

    • Judges -- for better or worse -- cannot invalidate patents. They can only rule on whether company X has infringed on the patent as it stands. It is up to company X to make a separate challenge to the validity of the patent through the Patent Office.

      Of course, prior art also seems to be ignored during the patent approval process. Patent System: fucked from A to Z.

    • So, even if there is prior art, now that is a worthless argument against a patent?

      If so, then the American tech industry is completely screwed. I LIKE IT!

      A patent is invalid if there is one or more pieces of prior art, existent at the time of filing, that, alone or in combination, disclose, teach, or suggest, explicitly or inherently, each and every element of the claims. There's been a lot of FUD spread about the patent reform act and moving from first-to-invent to first-to-file. It changes nothing about prior art, novelty, and obviousness.

      In this case, RIM claimed there was prior art that anticipated the patent, but the jury disagreed. That doesn't chan

  • Obvious is obvious (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tomhath ( 637240 ) on Saturday July 14, 2012 @02:03PM (#40649943)

    claims on a patent for a process that remotely manages a wireless device over a wireless network

    How else are you going to manage a wireless device? If this isn't a ridiculous patent there is none.

  • which looks legit. figure it was awarded in the early part of the last decade with a 3-4 year time for the patent office to process the application. looks like a legit patent for work being done years before BES became popular and when RIM was still selling texting toys to teenagers

    • by tomhath ( 637240 ) on Saturday July 14, 2012 @02:43PM (#40650221)
      The two main parts of this patent seem to be that it's over a wireless network and that it handles what we used to call "occasionally connected" devices. Since you can't assume the device will be turned on or available when you need to communicate with it you stage the data and send it when you do get a connection. We did that 20 years ago with dial-up devices. But I guess wireless connections are more special than dial-up.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        And, due to the unreliability of ye olde networks, we did it ten years before that with email. Store and forward is not a new idea.

        • by psergiu ( 67614 )

          Exactly. That's how UUCP mail worked. Store & forward between the modem-connected nodes then over the internet to the destination MX.

    • by hughk ( 248126 )
      Btw, RIM was putting out stock indices and FX since way back when to their earlier devices. Most of our traders had them in the mid nineties.

      If we forget Blackberry, there were a lot of devices around that were connected by switched telephone lines that could only get their updates when connected. Not all that different from wireless.

    • by Rich0 ( 548339 )

      BEFORE BES became popular you're suggesting that RIM was selling texting toys to teenagers?

      Blackberry was a corporate phone long before it took off with teens. They cost a fortune in the early days, and were an executive status symbol. In the US at least in that era it wasn't super-common for teenagers to even have phones, though some did have them. We're talking 1990s here...

      • by Fjandr ( 66656 )

        Shhh, this is Slashdot. If a company did two things at any point in its history they are obviously contemporaneous and can be used together to attack/defend any point one makes.

    • by Fjandr ( 66656 )

      Not a single part of that patent, alone or in conjunction with any/all other parts, is novel or non-obvious. It is how devices were managed before, the only difference being they were connected to a cord. Deploying a wireless network would obviate the need for a cord, and the next step is to perform that management over the wireless data link on the device.

      Now, perhaps if they had patented the idea of putting a wireless link into a device for the purpose of managing it, and submitted that patent a decade ea

      • then why rim did not take the next "obvious'' step of wireless and instead was using a docking station. remember that!!
        • by Fjandr ( 66656 )

          More than likely a result of bandwidth considerations, but without being privy to their internal deliberations I have no idea.

          Regardless of the specifics of one company's choices, the evolution was inevitable, barring some radical shift in new technology which would have supplanted the progression of available wireless bandwidth.

  • They just can't get a break and are getting shafted around every corner...
    • Re:Poor RIM (Score:5, Insightful)

      by amiga3D ( 567632 ) on Saturday July 14, 2012 @02:50PM (#40650265)

      They forgot to pay somebody. It reminds me of the old movie "Back to School" where Rodney Dangerfield is taking a business class and he starts filling the instructor in on all the payoffs and bribes necessary to conduct business in the "real" world.

  • RIM sued others over their stupid "push" e-mail patent. They won big judgements and settlements. (See this [].) Now I guess it's their turn to pay. This couldn't have happened at a worse time for them. I hope they are gone soon. I want my company to upgrade my 9900 to something else. Anything would be better (even a Windows phone).
  • there must be plenty of prior art for this, and doesn't that kill any patent suit ?
    • by Rich0 ( 548339 )

      I think RIM's whole point was that the Backberry WAS prior art. I wish there were a link to the actual rulings...

    • If there was valid prior art, do you not think RIM's lawyers would have looked for it and used it ?

      These patent cases tend to be very technically complex and turn on very fine details of exact wording. Armchair lawyer's commenting in these threads should probably stick to their day jobs.

  • “@BlackBerry: Fill in the blank: BlackBerry helps me ________.” realize how thankful I am for my #iPhone

    Ouch. []
  • My Blackberry (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 14, 2012 @04:17PM (#40650769)

    I own a Blackberry phone, it's the easiest phone I can use SINGLE-HANDED and perform tasks that otherwise would require screen flipping using other smart phones. The Blackberry is not a tablet nor does it claim to be, it is a phone designed to be tough, functional and very reliable when you need it.

    Here's a simple and old feature of my Blackberry, I can set an alarm for 7AM, turn off my phone completely, go to sleep, it will turn on at 7AM and sign the alarm. I cannot tell you how many times I've been in situations where I didn't have a battery charger and needed all the battery power I could get and needed to be awaken in the morning.

    The shape of the Blackberry is very ergonomic, fits perfect in anyone's palm, I can do everything (short of typing a long message) single-handed, try doing that with those over-sized devices. The Blackberry one of the few devices left for true mobility.

  • Tivo only makes money from patent income. Looks like RIM will be paying everyone else. You're doing it wrong!

  • I find it so funny that RIM is now "beleaguered", and it's all due to the outrageous success of Apple whom we were assured would die no more than 10 years ago..

    • by tsotha ( 720379 )
      Apple would have died without an infusion of cash from Microsoft. And that wasn't a green eyeshades business investment either - Microsoft only kept Apple alive because otherwise their antitrust defense would be more difficult.
      • Stop perpetuating this myth

        The truth is that Apple had irrefutable proof that Microsoft had copied source code from Quicktime, they were already in court over this before Steve Jobs came back with the NeXT purchase, and the $150 million investment was part of an out-of-court settlement that included cross-licensing and other terms. It was spun in a way that benefited both companies. To the layman it was a vote of confidence in Apple, to others it was a self-serving ploy by Microsoft to keep a competitor ali

To be is to program.