Patent Firm Goes After RIM, Palm, Nokia (RIMM, PALM, NOK)

A patent holding company from Texas wants to bar six companies — including BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIMM), Google (GOOG) phone maker HTC, Palm (PALM), and Nokia (NOK) — from importing gadgets into the U.S. for supposedly violating its patents.

InfoWorld: Saxon Innovations, based in Tyler, Texas, filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) on Dec. 19, and on Thursday, the ITC voted to investigate the complaint. If the ITC finds that the complaint is legitimate, it could bar the handheld makers from importing products, such as mobile phones and remote control devices, containing the patented inventions.

At issue are three patents that Saxon purchased in July 2007, a patent for keypad monitor with keypad activity-based activation; a patent for an apparatus and method for disabling interrupt marks in processors or the like; and a patent for a device and method for interprocessor communication by using mailboxes owned by processor devices. Saxon, with five employees, purchased about 180 U.S. patents formerly owned by Advanced Micro Devices or Legerity in 2007, according to its ITC complaint.

It’s possible the case will get thrown out. But electronics companies can’t ignore these claims either.

Recall RIM’s protracted dispute with patent holder NTP that ended in 2006 after a $612.5 million settlement — hundreds of millions of dollars more expensive than if RIM had settled immediately.

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