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RIM battles PDA patent holder in UK court

Elonex' IP offshoot mounts challenge

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

Research in Motion (RIM) has begun legal proceedings in the UK to invalidate a patent owned by a firm currently suing the Blackberry maker in the US for alleged infringement of said intellectual property.

RIM yesterday asked the English High Court to rule that Luxembourg-based Inpro Licensing's patent claims are "simple" and "either anticipated or obvious", Bloomberg reports.

Inpro maintains its intellectual property is being duplicated without permission by RIM's Blackberry. If Inpro prevails, RIM could be forced to suspend its service to some 375,000 users in the UK.

Long-time Register readers may recall Inpro is the former intellectual property division of UK PC maker Elonex, spun off in the late 1990s to leverage patents won by Elonex for monitor power management techniques. It went on to sue a number of big-name monitor and PC companies, including Compaq (now HP), Apple, Dell, Viewsonic, Sanyo, Sharp, Sony, Gateway, Samsung, LG and a host of others.

Inpro owns 16 patents which "cover features of PDAs, including those which incorporate thumbwheels and synchronisation via docking", on the back of which it's been attempting to sue RIM and T-Mobile USA since 2003. It also owns five patents "relating to a proxy-server system enhancing functionality of computers accessing servers on the internet", and it's suing T-Mobile in Germany for the alleged infringement of said.

In the past, RIM has alleged Inpro has pursued it with "threatening and grasping behaviour". ®

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