Jury Slams BlackBerry Maker for $147 Million

     (CN) – BlackBerry creator Research in Motion infringed on patented technology for wireless mobile device management, a federal jury ruled, awarding $147.2 million in damages.
     Mformation Technologies Inc. filed suit over RIM’s BlackBerry Enterprise Server, a “middleware” software package designed to offer a secure, centralized link between the wireless networks, communications software, applications and BlackBerry devices of customers.
     The four-year long suit ended after four days of jury deliberation in San Francisco.
     Jurors found Friday that Canada-based RIM violated the patent held by Mformation, which offers smartphone inventory management services and claims to helps AT&T and other telecommunication operators with remote fixes and upgrades.
     The jury calculated an $8 royalty for all 18.4 million BlackBerry phones connected to the enterprise server software.
     Future or foreign damages are not represented in the verdict, which covers only sales in the United States through the trial period, Mformation attorney Amar Thakur told Reuters.
     Otherwise, the award could potentially have ballooned to $680 million, on 78 million devices worldwide.
     RIM spokeswoman Crystal Roberts said the company will appeal if pending legal motions to overturn the verdict fall through.
     The Waterloo, Ontario, company denied infringement in a statement Saturday.
     “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,” according to the statement.
     Reuters reported that the verdict follows a 70 percent drop in stock prices over the past year as consumers switch to Apple’s iPhone and other devices using Google Android software.
     RIM posted its first operating loss in eight years in June, and the company reportedly plans to cut its workforce by one-third, or 5,000 jobs.

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