RIM Faces Patent Infringement Suit From NXP Semiconductor

NXP filed a complaint this week with the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, at Orlando, alleging its patents were illegally used by RIM when developing its BlackBerry PlayBook tablet and BlackBerry Torch and BlackBerry Curve smartphones. The six patents cited, which were issued to NXP between 1997 and 2008, include patents for data transmission, GPS receivers, and specific methods of integrated circuit manufacturing. RIM did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

NXP, which was created in 2006 as a Philips spin-off, said it filed the case in Florida because RIM, which is headquartered in Waterloo, Ontario, has an office Sunrise, Florida, and also hosts its annual BlackBerry World event in the state. RIM showcases many of its BlackBerry products at the event, which is scheduled to take place May 1-3 this year.

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"RIM has also regularly conducted and continues to regularly conduct business in the Middle District of Florida, and has committed acts of patent infringement in the District," NXP stated in the filing.

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The chip maker said it, "has suffered and will suffer actual and consequential damages" because of RIM’s alleged infringement. It is seeking recovery of these damages for lost profits, reasonable royalties, unjust enrichment, and any benefits received by RIM while supposedly using NXP technologies. The specific amount it’s seeking was not included in the filing.

NXP’s allegations came on the heels of RIM announcing weak fourth quarter earnings, with a net loss of $125 million. The company attributed the loss to a shrinking U.S. subscriber base, increased competition abroad, and a slump in sales of its BlackBerry smartphones. The company sold 11.1 million units during the three-month period, marking a 21 percent decrease from the 14.1 million it sold during the previous quarter.