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Motorola seeks ban on US BlackBerries

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Motorola is hoping to convince US trade regulators to ban the sale and import of certain BlackBerry phones, which it claims infringe on several patents.

The handset maker said Friday it has filed a complaint with the US International Trade Commission (ITC), asking for an investigation into RIM's alleged unlicensed use of five "early-stage innovations" for mobiles related to Wi-Fi access, user interface, power management, data protection, and storing messages.

Motorola told El Reg in an email that RIM had originally entered into a license agreement for the technology back in 2003, but has continued their use well after the deal expired in 2007.

RIM said it typically declines to comment on litigation.

The filing comes after patent lawsuits laid down by Motorola against RIM in the northern district of Texas and the UK in early 2008. These are unresolved.

Motorola said it doesn't have a "non-confidential version" of the complaint to share with us, but elaborated that the dispute concerns US patents 5,569,550 (a battery pack with under-voltage and over-voltage protection); 5,319,712 (method for providing cryptographic protection of data in a communication system); 5,359,317 (a method for storing a received messages on a phone); 6,232,970 (a user interface design for small handheld devices); and 6,272,333 (a way to control how Wi-Fi data is delivered to a device).

"In light of RIM's continued unlicensed use of Motorola's patents RIM's use of delay tactics in our current patent litigation, and RIM's refusal to design out Motorola's proprietary technology, Motorola has no choice but to file a complaint with the ITC to halt RIM's continued infringement," Jonathan Meyer, Motorola's vice president of intellectual property law, said in a statement.

The filing asks the ITC to issue a ban on RIM from importing or selling any of the allegedly infringing products within the US, as well as halting marketing and advertising for those products.

In 2008, RIM countered Motorola's lawsuit with its own in Texas court, claiming Motorola infringed on several RIM patents. It also accused its rival of anti-competitive conduct for demanding "exorbitant" licensing fees on technologies that are essential to various standards in mobile telecommunications.

The complaint also follows a lawsuit from Eastman Kodak against RIM earlier this month, claiming the company didn't license patents for previewing images in different resolutions. ®

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