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Here we go again, another lawsuit in the smartphone world. This time RIM and Motorola are suing each other after attempts to renew an existing licensing arrangement between the two companies fell apart.
RIM was the first to take action on the 16th, filing suit against Motorola for violating 9 of RIM's patents and making further claims that Motorola has been charging "exorbitant royalties" for licenses on patents that Motorola has. Motorola was quick to countersue, claiming RIM is infringing on 7 patents that Motorola holds rights too.
The patents in question here are really basic - hence why the companies have done their best to work together in the past to license rights from eachother. When I say basics, I do mean basics, like RIM having the patent for “a mobile device 'with a keyboard optimized for use with the thumbs” and Motorola holding one for "a method of storing contact information in wireless e-mails, a way of recognizing incoming phone numbers, a way of controlling access to new applications on a wireless-messaging device and ways to improve functions on the menu-driven interface of a phone handset." This is stuff any modern day smartphone takes advantage of.
I typically don't like to post on legal stuff - I prefer the happy side of the smartphone world, but when I saw what Dieter over at WMExperts.com picked up on I just couldn't help do up this post. From WMExperts...
The fun doesn't stop there, though. This is all going down in Texas (RIM's suit is in Dallas, Moto's is in East Texas). East Texas is home to the “rocket docket,” where IP suits get moved through the system lickety-split and often favor the plantiff. Suddenly RIM's decision to place their US headquarters in Dallas instead of someplace closer to Canada is starting to make a little more sense. Lawsuits over basic cellphone functionality are getting so commonplace these days, RIM needs to be close to the action, whichever side of it they may be on.
It's an interesting point. RIM is a good 'ole Canadian company playing in a big game. It makes sense for them to be opening up shop in a place like Texas that has some favorable legal advantages.
Call me biased, but in this case I don't think RIM was the first to take action because they were "sue happy". It seems more likely that Motorola went south on their dealings (likely because Motorola isn't doing so well in the 'ole smartphone game these days) which backed RIM into a corner and left them no choice. But what do I know, I'm just a CrackBerry Addict! :-)