RIM Pays Off Wi-LAN To Get Rid Of Another Patent Suit

from the losers-litigate dept

Wi-LAN is a Canadian company that did some early work in the wireless field, but was unable to actually make much of a business out of its work, so it took the loser’s route: it started suing lots of companies for patent infringement. It’s the same old story: winners innovate, losers litigate — and litigate seems to be about all that Wi-LAN does these days. Recently, Wi-LAN targeted RIM, another Canadian company, who famously was pressured to cough up hundreds of millions in another patent battle to NTP a few years ago. These days, RIM seems to have learned an unfortunate lesson: it’s easier to just pay up whoever sues you for patent infringement, no matter how legit (or not) their claim is.

So, it should come as no surprise that RIM has agreed to pay off Wi-LAN to make the lawsuit go away. No details were released, but given that Wi-LAN put out a separate press release saying that its “earnings” (a misnomer if there ever were one) for the quarter should be between $24.5 million and $25.5 million from the previous guidance of $15 million to $20 million you can take a guess how much this cost RIM. Definitely cheaper than a lawsuit, though this will only encourage two bad results: Wi-LAN will keep suing companies that actually do something, and more companies with questionable patents on wireless technologies will line up to get some cash from RIM. This isn’t encouraging innovation. It’s encouraging extortion.

Filed Under:
Companies: rim, wi-lan

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Comments on “RIM Pays Off Wi-LAN To Get Rid Of Another Patent Suit”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Not sure I get the "losers"

Seems like Wi-LAN made millions here without doing much of anything. Not sure I see how that makes them “losers” or how this specific business strategy of litigation is unsound? I think if it were, the world would be a better place. However, the real problem today is that this is actually a perfectly valid business strategy and as is demonstrated in this particular case, often leads to very beneficial outcomes for the “loser”.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Not sure I get the "losers"

Seems like Wi-LAN made millions here without doing much of anything. Not sure I see how that makes them “losers” or how this specific business strategy of litigation is unsound?

Wi-LAN lost in the marketplace. It was unable to build a product that market wanted.

And in suing the successful companies that actually did bring products to the market, money is moved from actually benefiting society to rewarding the company that couldn’t. That’s inefficient, bad for the market and bad for the economy.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Not sure I get the

I dont disagree with the outcome being negative for society. I just dont think “loser” is the right term for a company who walks away with millions for doing nothing. The real problem here is that this litigious business model is actually sound, it does work. If it didnt, frankly thier would be no negative effect on the market place to worry about.

mobiGeek says:

Re: Re: Re: Not sure I get the

Losers because the company was trying to operate (and failed) in a market worth many billions a year, and walked away with a minor fraction of that.

Losers because of the time, effort and lack of focus required for their “business model” to eek out a few mere millions.

Businesses are expensive to operate. It would be quite interesting to see how much money these jokers burned through prior to this court ruling. It would be interesting to know just how much ROI their investors got by this “winning business strategy”.

stv says:

stop the shilling!!!

I’ll bet when you were a kid you would steal food from other kids in the lunch room and if they ratted on you, you would wait in the bushes for them outside the school yard. That is the way you look at property rights. What’s mine is mine unless you can take it from me. Well, let’s try this. You tell me where you live so I can come over, knock you senseless (That would be redundant. You’re already there.) and throw you out of your house. So what you gonna do about it, cry baby?

Some people never grow up. You were a punk then. You’re a punk now.

mobiGeek says:

Re: stop the shilling!!!

Except, when someone steals your lunch…you are out a lunch.

When someone copies your idea…you STILL HAVE the idea.

Now, if you cannot COMPETE in the marketplace having had the upper hand on initial market push of your idea, then why should others be held back by your inabilities.

See, this is the problem with this type of patent case. The patent holder only had HALF of the idea necessary to become successful. They failed because they couldn’t come up with the other half (the innovation part). And I’m being very generous by saying a patented idea is half…innovation is usually where the real hard work is.

The case isn’t about “stolen” anything. It is about being someone being first to the lunch counter and not letting anyone else eat until they figure out what it is they want off the menu…and they can’t read.

In addition, you offer threats of physical violence and then claim that people with reasoned points of view are “punks” and “need to grow up”?

Ronald J Riley (profile) says:

RIM is a SLOW Learner

NTP, a company owned by an independent inventor and a patent attorney won on the merits of their case. RIM made so many mistakes that it cost them $612 million. They committed fraud on the court and a number of other sins. Their case went all the way to the Supreme Court and they found no relief based on their conduct and their position’s lack of merit.

RIM is a serial infringer, period. You can bet that they settled this case because they were caught once again with their sticky fingers in other’s patent cookie jar.

I think that RIM is a school yard bully who will eventually do as Microsoft did, pick the wrong fight and really get their tail whipped in the same manner as Microsoft.

Ronald J. Riley,

Speaking only on my own behalf.
President – http://www.PIAUSA.org – RJR at PIAUSA.org
Executive Director – http://www.InventorEd.org – RJR at InvEd.org
Senior Fellow – http://www.patentPolicy.org
President – Alliance for American Innovation
Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
Washington, DC
Direct (202) 318-1595 – 9 am to 9 pm EST.

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