Research In Motion is suing rival Motorola, WSJ reports ($), claiming that the company violated some of its patents and is asking RIM for “unreasonable” royalties to licence Motorola-owned patents. Motorola, meanwhile, is countersuing RIM for patent infringement.
RIM accuses Motorola of “anticompetitive conduct,” saying the company is violating an agreement that forces it to licence those patents at reasonable rates. RIM also says Motorola only increased its demands for “exorbitant” patent royalties as its mobile phone business flopped and as RIM took more market share.
RIM also says Motorola is infringing a patent for a mobile gadget “with a keyboard optimised for use with the thumbs.”
The background: In 2006, Motorola (MOT) bought a mobile email firm called Good Technology, which many thought would put the company in a solid position to compete with RIM’s BlackBerry devices. It didn’t. RIM (RIMM) grew its BlackBerry subscriber base from 5 million to 12 million last year. In the meantime, Motorola has seen its market share drop, and is considering spinning off or selling its troubled mobile phone division.
RIM, of course, is no stranger to patent suits: In 2006 it settled a long, ugly patent war with IP squatter NTP for $612.5 million.
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