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RIM and Motorola square up over patents

Texas fisticuffs

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RIM and Motorola are suing each other for patent infringement, with both companies refusing to pay the other for using their patented technologies. RIM is also complaining that Motorola is demanding "exorbitant" fees with the intention of damaging its business.

The spat started with RIM filing a civil action, in Texas of course, claiming that Motorola is infringing its patents including one covering the use of Wi-Fi in a mobile phone. Motorola responded with two suits, challenging RIM's patents and accusing the BlackBerry maker of infringing its own patents.

The ailing mobile phone peddler told Reuters it believed RIM's claims to be completely without merit, and that it would vigorously defend itself - though it also admitted it hadn't actually seen the complaint yet.

It seems that back in 2003 the two companies agreed that their piles of patents were roughly equal, so they might as well cross-licence. That agreement has now fallen apart as Motorola tries to sweat its assets a little more, which could make the company a more attractive to a purchaser.

But RIM has barely been out of court in the last few years, and it has great confidence in its patent portfolio. Being mired in litigation with RIM isn't going to make its mobile phone business any easier for Motorola to sell, so once the sabre-rattling is over there will likely be a swift deal made. ®

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