November 21, 2002 3:07 PM PST

Jury: RIM infringed on patents

A federal jury determined that Research In Motion infringed on patents and on Thursday ordered it to pay $23 million to holding company NTP.

RIM, maker of the BlackBerry wireless device, said it disagrees with the verdict and vowed to appeal. At the same time, the company said it will record a pre-tax provision of approximately $23 million against potential damages in its third quarter.

"Today's jury verdict was wrong as both a matter of law and fact," Charles Meyer, RIM's chief legal officer, said in a statement. The company said that if the judge upholds the jury's verdict, RIM will appeal.

The patents in question cover the use of radio frequency wireless communications in electronic mail systems, RIM said.

The BlackBerry maker said the judge in the case will rule on various post-trial motions in February and will also decide then if the jury's finding that the infringement was willful will increase the damage award.

RIM itself has been a frequent litigant in protection of its own patents.

The company has sued rival Good Technology on several occasions. RIM also sued Handspring over its keyboard patent, with Handspring agreeing to license the patents earlier this month.

Palm also recently licensed RIM's keyboard technology.

RIM Co-CEO Mike Lazardis said in a statement that the NTP verdict will have no impact on RIM's own patents.

"The validity and enforceability of our own patents were never at issue and are not affected at all by this verdict today," he said. "As our legal teams continue with this litigation, we remain focused on our priorities of designing, delivering and supporting innovative wireless solutions for our customers and partners."

 

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