As it gears up for a vital release of new handsets Research In Motion faces another potential stumbling block: An attempt by Nokia to stop the sale of BlackBerry smartphones after an arbitrator’s ruling against the Canadian company.
Fortunately, all it will take is money to resolve this one.
According to a Reuters report, the fight is over the use of Nokia WLAN patents.
An arbitrator in Sweden ruled earlier this month that RIM was in breach of contract and can’t sell products with Wi-Fi unless it strikes a royalty agreement with Nokia.
ComputerWorld reports that Nokia has asked a California court to enforce the ruling, which involves U.S. patents, and adds background.
Nokia issued the following statement to us this morning: “Nokia and RIM agreed a cross-license for standards-essential cellular patents in 2003, which was amended in 2008. In 2011, RIM sought arbitration, arguing that the license extended beyond cellular essentials. In November 2012, the arbitration tribunal ruled against RIM. It found that RIM was in breach of contract and is not entitled to manufacture or sell WLAN products without first agreeing royalties with Nokia. In order to enforce the Tribunal’s ruling, we have now filed actions in the U.S, U.K. and Canada with the aim of ending RIM’s breach of contract.”
In reply, RIM issued the following statement: “Research in Motion has worked hard to develop its leading-edge BlackBerry technology and has built an industry-leading intellectual property portfolio of its own. RIM will respond to Nokia’s petitions in due course.”
Presumably, Nokia and RIM have been talking about the royalty since the arbitration was released and talks have stalled. Going to court is one way for Nokia to put the squeeze on, knowing BB 10’s imminent release is a great hammer.
No one doubts that if this isn’t resolved fast RIM’s hopes for BlackBerry 10 to lift its fortunes will be hobbled. What device these days doesn’t include Wi-Fi?