RIM Loses Another Patent Case, Told To Pay $147.2 Million

from the live-by-the-patent,-die-by-the-patent dept

Perhaps one of the most famous patent lawsuits -- which really highlighted the whole patent troll problem -- was the case of NTP vs. RIM, which ended with RIM paying over $600 million to settle the case, even as the USPTO was rejecting NTP's patents. Since then, RIM has been involved in a number of other patent lawsuits as well, including one that it lost last week against "Mformation Technologies." RIM has been told to pay up another $147.2 million in this case.

Of course, what some people forget is that RIM brought much of this on itself. Before NTP even came on the scene, it was RIM who started suing a bunch of other companies for patent infringement, based on its broad portfolio of patents around wireless email and mobile devices. On top of all that, RIM's business is collapsing. The company is fighting for relevancy as its latest operating system has been delayed -- and there's growing evidence that even once it comes out, no one's going to care about it.

RIM can try to put a nice spin on things, but it seems clear that the company is in serious trouble. Perhaps, next time, it will focus on improving its products more than getting caught up in the patent game. Yes, many of these more recent lawsuits came from it getting sued, but there's no doubt that RIM drew a lot of attention to itself early on with its own patent lawsuits against others.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 3:12am


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 3:27am

    eventually, what goes around, comes around

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    DataShade (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 3:28am

    Plus, I hear the company charter was wearing a really provocative dress. It was definitely asking for it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    DataShade (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 3:32am


    In case it wasn't obvious: that was sarcasm. This site has hosted a thousand articles that showed people and companies who didn't deserve it finding themselves the target of a patent troll.

    It is certainly true that "there's no doubt that RIM drew a lot of attention to itself early on with its own patent lawsuits against others," but it does not logically follow that they were sued by trolls because they trolled others. I think that sort of thing is beneath you, Mr. Masnick.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    DataShade (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 3:37am


    I would feel a lot better about that if it were the C*Os and legal counsel who were responsible for RIM's troll strategy getting penalized instead of the shareholders and employees.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    Anonymous Coward of Esteemed Trolling (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 3:49am

    "Rim's new OS = Shit no one cares about." (lol Mike)

    As far as phones go....
    Low wattage intel x86 chip, with Linux or Windows, is the shit that will get people caring.
    But these patents are ridiculous.
    If you told me they were a conspiracy, created to pay less tax, I would believe it. It's not like the patents make more sense as is.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 4:22am

    Re: Re:

    But could their actions of suing over and over lead to people seeing it as a viable way to do business?

    As Mike noted back in 2002...
    "It is early days in the wireless data market so such legal battles should come as no surprise. But maybe RIM should consider finding a way to settle quickly and license their patents to infringers. The market is big enough to support all the current players and in fact needs as many players as possible to take off."

    And look at the landscape we have now, companies using patents of questionable value to block competitors products, or forcing them to be made less useful.

    The answer seems to always be sue early, sue often, and gobble up any patents you can to create a wedge you can attack competitors with rather than compete. Much of the patent wars we are having to deal with now are over tiny little pieces of an overall picture that aren't going to sway end users if you build a better machine.
    Is slide to unlock really worth millions? Or is it just a way to make sure the other guy is blocked from the market, killing innovation and hurting the overall market as more money is spent on legal fees than development.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 4:35am


    Live by the state granted monopoly, die by the state granted monopoly

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 4:57am


    In the construction industry it is standard to have one company that bids at or below cost to get the contract and then have parallel companies drain all the profit from the bidding company by having the bidding company purchase all material from a material supply company, rent all all equipment from a equipment company, purchase all labor from a labor supply company company, and have all management done by a management supply company. Each year the bid company shows a loss on each project; never making a profit.

    The practice is so wide spread and bizarre to individuals not schooled in construction project matters and legal issues that it is beyond comprehension.

    Since the practice is wide spread with firms outside the US as well as with US firms and that most of these firms are privately owned one can only conclude that there are some wide spread tax issues that are avoided since the ownership of the support firms is in most cases identical to the ownership of the biding firm.

    With corporate structure in the construction and ship transportation industries as bizarre as Hollywood entertainment's structure maybe the real issue is not pattens, copy right, licensing, but something more fundamental such as government tax policy and corporate legal liability. Maybe the pattens and copyright issues are only the visual part of a much bigger corporate finance and ethics issue.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Seamus Waldron, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 5:18am

    I feel bad now....

    ..... a few years ago I was contacted by RIM layers about - I think - this case. They were trying to prove prior art by showing that a business mobile device, the IBM PC110 (that has a built in telephone though traditional, not wireless) , would be automatically synced and updated using Lotus Notes.

    Back in the day, the mid 90's, I used this little beauty whilst I was travelling all over the world (http://www.apj.co.uk/pc110/pt_travel.htm). I was given it by my then employer as he preferred the Libretto. When I was given the PC110, it had on it Windows95 with Lotus Notes on the removable hard drive.

    I spent the best part of 7 months - on and off - going through rafts of backups to find the Notes installation, but failed. Shame as it would definitely have demonstrated what RIM were trying to show.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. icon
    Ninja (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 6:23am

    RIM is an incredibly interesting case study (along with Nokia) of dominant companies that fall into oblivion over the course of very few years. Google has some nice role in their late decline by throwing the Android nuke on the market. Even Apple who initially started eating those two now fear Android. And amusingly they are following the same path that has proven disastrous for RIM.

    Interesting times we are living, interesting times.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 7:49am

    Re: Re: Re:

    The answer seems to always be sue early, sue often, and gobble up any patents you can to create a wedge you can attack competitors with rather than compete.

    I think the issue is that that is what competition is now. If you don't have nukes, you can't win the arms race.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 8:49am

    Re: Re:

    How do the support companies drain profit from a job that is at or below cost? I'm not doubting you but I need more info to understand it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 10:36am

    Re: Re:

    I don't feel any sympathy for the shareholders. As the actual owners of the corporation, they are ultimately responsible for the company's actions. If they failed to correct an obvious problem, they should have bailed out on the stock. If they didn't, and got burned because of it, too bad.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 5:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Which is really freaking sad when you think about it.
    Rather than spending money making sure it works correctly out of the box, or has a neat new feature they devote more money to making sure the other guy can't have something remotely similar.

    Competition used to be about making the better widget, now its about spending the most money on lawyers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Thirdy Rosales, Jul 17th, 2012 @ 1:16am

    Sometimes, justice comes in a silver platter for those who think they were the victims. However, for those who think it should not be the case, then it is time to move forward.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    staff, Jul 17th, 2012 @ 6:57am

    another biased article

    “Patent troll”

    Call it what you will...patent hoarder, patent troll, non-practicing entity, shell company, etc. It all means one thing: “we’re using your invention and we’re not going to pay or stop”. This is just dissembling by large infringers and their paid puppets to kill any inventor support system. It is purely about legalizing theft. The fact is, many of the large multinationals who defame inventors in this way themselves make no products in the US or create any American jobs and it is their continued blatant theft which makes it impossible for the true creators to do so.

    Prior to eBay v Mercexchange, small entities had a viable chance at commercializing their inventions. If the defendant was found guilty, an injunction was most always issued. Then the inventor small entity could enjoy the exclusive use of his invention in commercializing it. Unfortunately, injunctions are often no longer available to small entity inventors because of the Supreme Court decision so we have no fair chance to compete with much larger entities who are now free to use our inventions. Essentially, large infringers now have your gun and all the bullets. Worse yet, inability to commercialize means those same small entities will not be hiring new employees to roll out their products and services. And now some of those same parties who killed injunctions for small entities and thus blocked their chance at commercializing now complain that small entity inventors are not commercializing. They created the problem and now they want to blame small entities for it. What dissembling! If you don’t like this state of affairs (your unemployment is running out), tell your Congress member. Then maybe we can get some sense back in the patent system with injunctions fully enforceable on all infringers by all inventors, large and small.

    Those wishing to help fight big business giveaways should contact us as below and join the fight as we are building a network of inventors and other stakeholders to lobby Congress to restore property rights for all patent owners -large and small.

    For the truth about trolls, please see http://truereform.piausa.org/default.html#pt.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    patent litigation, Jul 23rd, 2012 @ 1:16am

    way of the patent troll?

    This is indeed bad news for RiM, and bad timing. If things continue in this vein, the company may have only one choice: either to invest significantly in R&D and introduce significant innovations, or to go the way of the patent troll and start litigating furiously. Any bets as to which way it will go?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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