A California court has directed BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) to pay Mformation Technologies US$147.2 million in damages for infringing on its patents.
Mformation had filed a lawsuit against RIM accusing that the BlackBerry Enterprise Server software infringed on a patent held by Mformation concerning the remote management of devices from a server.
The company claimed it had disclosed details of the technology to RIM during licensing discussions. After declining to take a license, the BlackBerry maker modified its software to include the patented systems, Mformation said in its complaint.
The jury ruled that RIM should be forced to pay a royalty of US$8 for each of the 18.4 million units sold, for a total of US$147.2 million.
Amar Thakur, a lawyer for Mformation, said the jury’s damage award is for royalties on past sales of devices to American customers excluding those in the government. Damages for future sales outside the United States and for government customers could increase the amount RIM must pay by two to three times, Mr. Thakur said in an interview after the verdict.
RIM said that it is disappointed by the outcome, and is evaluating its options.
"RIM has worked hard for many years to independently develop its leading-edge BlackBerry technology and industry-leading intellectual property portfolio, and RIM does not believe that the Mformation patent in question is valid", it said in a statement.
The company said that it will await the decision of the trial judge on some outstanding legal issues before deciding whether to proceed with an appeal.
Mformation's founder and chief technology officer said that Mformation created the mobile device-management market in the 1990s, and the patents held by the company are legitimate.
"We ensured that our early innovations in device management were put through rigorous legal assessment by applying for patents on these innovations in the United States and abroad," he said in a statement.
"Now, these patented technologies are central to many critical mobile device-management tasks being used by operators, service providers and enterprises around the world, including remote device configuration, lock/wipe and application management. With a total of 27 patents granted or pending, our IP portfolio will allow us to continue to shape the future of the mobile device-management market."