A jury in Northern California has found Research In Motion guilty of infringing on patents from mobile device management vendor Mformation, a verdict that will slam the struggling BlackBerry maker with a $147.2 million fine.
Mformation first filed the suit in 2008, accusing RIM of basing its BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) -- a software offering for managing client devices running on corporate networks -- on its own patents for wireless device management.
The U.S. District Court of Northern California is reportedly requiring RIM to pay $8 for each of the 18.4 million BES-connected smartphones it sold throughout the duration of the case, totaling $417 million, according to Bloomberg News.
RIM said in a statement that it is disappointed by the verdict but also hinted that it could be overturned, or least made less severe, after the judge continues to review "certain legal issues" related to the case.
"RIM is disappointed by the outcome and is evaluating all legal options. Additionally, the trial judge has yet to decide certain legal issues that might impact the verdict," the company said. "RIM will await those rulings before deciding whether to pursue an appeal."
RIM also questioned the validity of Mformation’s infringement claims, suggesting it had "worked hard for many years" to develop its BlackBerry Enterprise Server technology independently.
The court ruling is the most recent in a series of woes for RIM, which has been steadily losing U.S. market share to competitors Google and Apple over the past year. In RIM's first-quarter earnings call in June, it reported having sold 7.8 million BlackBerry smartphones during the quarter, down from the 11.1 million it shipped in the previous quarter. The company also announced a net loss of $518 million for the three-month period.
RIM CEO Thorsten Heins also said nearly 5,000 employees will be laid off over the next year as part of a larger effort to save $1 billion in operational costs.
PUBLISHED JULY 16, 2012