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Nokia RIM shot: Seeks royalties after winning wireless patent spat

Struggle for Apple-Samsung leftover scraps turns nasty

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RIM's decision to take its Nokia patent licensing troubles to an arbitration tribunal has backfired somewhat, as the adjudicator found the Canadian firm wasn't sticking to its side of the cross-licensing bargain the two firms struck nearly 10 years ago.

The tribunal said that Research in Motion is "not entitled to manufacture or sell products compatible with the WLAN standard" until it agrees on royalties with Nokia.

This has led the Finnish firm to file cases in the US, UK and Canada to enforce the arbitration order which was handed down by the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce - and in effect declare a sales ban on the affected RIM products should RIM fail to agree to cough royalties.

"Nokia and RIM agreed a cross-license for standards-essential cellular patents in 2003, which was amended in 2008. In 2011, RIM sought arbitration, arguing that the license extended beyond cellular essentials," Nokia said in a statement. "In November 2012, the arbitration tribunal ruled against RIM. It found that RIM was in breach of contract."

The company's filing in US court said that when companies enter arbitration with the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, they agree that the decision will be "final and binding on the parties" and the loser should "carry out any award without delay".

"RIM and its US subsidiary nevertheless continue to violate the award and breach the underlying agreement," the filing said.

RIM had not returned a request for comment at the time of publication.

Nokia and RIM, much like the snarling runts of a litter, are fighting over the scraps of the mobile device market, which is now dominated by Apple and Samsung. The Finnish firm filed suits against RIM in Germany, at the same time as filing against HTC and Viewsonic in the US and Germany, citing reams of patents.

Increasingly disappointing performance in the smartphone sector has left Nokia clinging to the life-raft of its sizeable patent portfolio as it tries to reignite interest in its mobes, while RIM is also being talked about less like a phone company and more like a prospective patent treasure chest to be plundered by rivals along with its enterprise services biz. ®

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