Motorola has filed a complaint claiming that RIM, the maker of Blackberry devices, has been participating in unfair business practices by importing and selling mobile phones that Motorola claims infringe upon 5 patents. Motorola claims that the five patents that they have listed relate to ?early-stage? innovations developed by Motorola in important areas of mobile development such as Wi-Fi access, application management, and user interface as well as power management. All of these technologies that are being implemented by RIM are supposedly infringing upon Motorola innovations.
These technologies that Motorola has patented, they say, are important to them because they enable a fuller connectivity for the device as well a better user experience and lower product costs. This complaint comes as a result of the fact that Motorola and RIM have been in a court battle in the past two years trying to negotiate their cross licensing agreement. Since this agreement had expired nearly 2 years ago, Motorola appears to have decided that they no longer want to reach a mutual agreement.
Motorola has requested that the ITC commence an investigation into RIM?s use of Motorola?s patents and, among other things, issue an Exclusion Order barring RIM?s importation of infringing products; prohibiting further sales of infringing products that have already been imported; and halting the marketing, advertising, demonstration and warehousing of inventory for distribution and use of such imported products in the United States.
Jonathan Meyer, senior vice president of intellectual property law at Motorola, said, "Through its early-stage development of the cellular industry and billions of dollars spent on research and development, Motorola has created an industry-leading intellectual property portfolio that is respected by the entire telecommunications industry. In light of RIM?s continued unlicensed use of Motorola?s patents, RIM?s use of delay tactics in our current patent litigation, and RIM?s refusal to design out Motorola?s proprietary technology, Motorola had no choice but to file a complaint with the ITC to halt RIM?s continued infringement. Motorola will continue to take all necessary steps to protect its R&D and intellectual property, which are critical to the Company?s business."
This move by Motorola shows that Motorola has become more confident in their ability to make a device that customers want and as a result they are beginning to attack their competition. Not only by creating products that are both innovative and stylish but by going after those companies that are their competition. In this case, Motorola has decided to dig up that buried hatchet with RIM and file a complaint against those technologies that they had a licensing agreement for at one point.
As many people know, Motorola was one of the pioneers in cellular technology and for someone like RIM to use those technologies is not unexpected. There is a possibility that the payout for such patents could hurt RIM?s bottom line in the event that the ITC agrees with Motorola. As many people have noticed, Motorola in the past few years was on the decline while RIM was gaining significant market share within the Smartphone market. Although Motorola?s handset division has been struggling, recently Motorola has had two consecutively successful devices on different carriers. Those phones are the Motorola CLIQ on T-mobile and the Verizon DROID which has received quite a favorable showing from many reviewers and consumers alike. We will be following the developments in this case and look forward to keeping you updated on more events relating to the dispute between Motorola and RIM. On another note, there are two other handset companies who have been fighting it out as well. Those are Nokia and Apple. They have been suing each other back and forth the entire last quarter of 2009.
It looks like there is a lot of infighting between Smartphone manufacturers and we hope to get some resolution between these companies in 2010.