RIM and Motorola settle patent dispute

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BlackBerry maker Research In Motion and competing handset maker Motorola Inc. have settled a patent infringement dispute that includes technologies for wireless e-mail and networks.

RIM will give U.S.-based Motorola an upfront payment and continuing royalties under the settlement and licence agreement, the companies said in a joint statement on Friday.

Montreal -

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion and competing handset maker Motorola Inc. have settled a patent infringement dispute that includes technologies for wireless e-mail and networks.

RIM will give U.S.-based Motorola an upfront payment and continuing royalties under the settlement and licence agreement, the companies said in a joint statement on Friday.

Financial terms of the settlement weren't released. Both Waterloo, Ont.-based RIM and Motorola declined further comment on the agreement.

Motorola had brought the dispute earlier this year to the International Trade Commission in Washington, which has the power to prevent consumer devices from entering the United States.

Patents involving technology are often fought in the courts and can take millions of dollars and years to settle.

Technology analyst Nick Agostino said it was inevitable the dispute would be settled.

He said when the lawsuit was filed two years ago Motorola was struggling and may have asked RIM for what the BlackBerry maker believed was "unrealistic or unreasonable terms."

"I think that's what the dispute originated from," said Agostino, of Mackie Research Capital Corp. in Toronto.

"It was a case of just trying to make sure it was fair terms - that was the source of the dispute," he said. "So, the outcome was not unexpected."

Motorola had filed a lawsuit against RIM on the matter in February 2008 claiming infringement on seven of its U.S. patents on some models of the Blackberry Pearl and BlackBerry Curve.

RIM promptly filed a counter-claim, saying Motorola had infringed on nine of its patents, Agostino said.

The companies also said the cross-licensing agreement includes the advanced wireless network technology called Long-Term Evolution (LTE) that is suited to data-centric activities on smartphones such as watching video.

Agostino said RIM is hinting it is going to make a BlackBerry that uses this technology and it may well be interested in the LTE patents that now-bankrupt Nortel will be auctioning off.

The agreement between RIM and Motorola also includes transferring certain patents to each other.

In April, RIM cracked the top five mobile phone makers worldwide, knocking out Motorola to claim fifth place for the first quarter of 2010, behind Nokia, Samsung, LG Electronics and Sony Ericsson.

Illinois-based Motorola recently lost its position as the largest U.S. maker of phones to Apple Inc., maker of the popular iPhone.

Motorola has been trying to stop its slide in phone sales by focusing on new smartphones, including the Droid with Google's Android operating system.

RIM recently settled another patent dispute with U.S.-based Prism Technologies involving authentication systems on BlackBerrys such as the Curve 8330. Terms of the settlement haven't been disclosed.

Organizations: Motorola Inc., Research In Motion, International Trade Commission Mackie Research Capital Nortel Nokia Samsung LG Electronics Apple Inc. Google Prism Technologies

Geographic location: United States, Montreal, Waterloo Washington Toronto

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