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US judge gives RIM its $147m back in patent spat

Jury award overturned in Mformation case

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Beleaguered Canadian mobile firm Research in Motion has managed to get a patent verdict against it overturned, saving the BlackBerry maker $147.2m.

A US court overturned the ruling that RIM had infringed on a patent of Mformation Technologies and said the firm no longer needed to hand over the jury award of $147.2m.

Mformation sued RIM back in 2008 over a patent for the software that remotely manages wireless mobile devices on a network. In July, the jury told RIM it would have to pay $8 for every BlackBerry device connected to its enterprise server software that it ruled had infringed on Mformation's intellectual property.

But Judge James Ware said yesterday that Mformation had failed to establish that RIM infringed on the patent.

RIM was understandably pleased with the outcome, which will be a bit of help to the firm as it struggles to figure out how to turn its fortunes around.

"The purpose of the patent system is to encourage innovation, but the system is still too often exploited in pursuit of other goals," Steve Zipperstein, RIM’s chief legal officer, said in a canned statement.

"Many policy makers have already recognised the need to address this problem and we call on others to join them as this case clearly highlights the significant need for continuing policy reform to help reduce the amount of resources wasted on unwarranted patent litigation.”

Mformation can, of course, appeal the ruling, but at this stage in the legalities, a successful appeal would lead to a new trial rather than giving it millions of dollars straight away. ®

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