Feeds

RIM settles SureType patent infringement spat

Licenses predictive text tech from Eatoni

Mobile application security vulnerability report

Research In Motion (RIM) has reached an agreement with Eatoni Ergonomics, a little-known developer of predictive text input software for mobile devices, who claimed the Canadian company's BlackBerry incorporated technology it had no right to use.

Neither party would disclose the full terms of the deal, but they include RIM making an unspecified equity investment in Eatoni in return for a licence to use the smaller firm's intellectual property. They will also co-operate on next-gen text prediction technologies.

Eatoni took RIM to court back in 2005, claiming various BlackBerries with two-letter-per-key keyboards, such as the 7100 series and later devices like the Pearl, violate US Patent 6,885,317, which Eatoni had been granted in April of that year.

Patent 6,885,317 details "touch-typable devices based on ambiguous codes and methods to design such devices". Mobile phone owners who use the T9 system will be familiar with the idea, but Eatoni's dictionary-less, language-agnostic approach is significantly better. We know, we've tried it. So have plenty of cordless phone users - Eatoni's technology has been licensed to quite a few DECT-handset makers.

The BlackBerry 7100, launched in 2004, introduced SureType, RIM's technology to allow users to press a single key and have the device work out whether they want, say, a Q or a W, to appear on the screen. That, Eatoni claimed, is exactly what patent 6,885,317 discussed when it applied for the patent in December 1999, long before RIM released the 7100.

RIM initially attempted to have Eatoni's patent declared invalid, but Eatoni countersued, alleging patent infringement and asking the court to ban the sale of RIM's allegedly infringing products. As usual, the US District Court of Northern Texas told the two companies to try mediation first, and in this case the negotiations proved successful.

Neither side has agreed to withdraw their allegations, instead choosing to settle the case "with prejudice", presumably in order to avoid further costly legal entanglements. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
For Lenovo US, 8-inch Windows tablets are DEAD – long live 8-inch Windows tablets
Reports it's killing off smaller slabs are greatly exaggerated
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530
Say it with us: I'm King of the Landfill-ill-ill-ill
Seventh-gen SPARC silicon will accelerate Oracle databases
Uncle Larry's mutually-optimised stack to become clearer in August
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.