Motorola Inc. has sued Research in Motion Ltd., claiming that the Canadian company's BlackBerry wireless e-mail device violates seven U.S. patents covering mobile-communications technology.
Motorola, the biggest U.S. maker of mobile phones, said Research in Motion was using the inventions without permission and asked a federal judge in Marshall, Texas, to order a stop. Motorola also is seeking cash compensation for past infringement of the inventions, according to the complaint filed Saturday.
Research in Motion "willfully" infringed the patents, causing "irreparable harm," Schaumburg, Ill.-based Motorola said in the complaint.
Research in Motion has more than 8 million subscribers in North America. AT&T; Inc., Verizon Wireless and other phone companies pay the Waterloo, Canada-based company about $6 a month for each subscriber who uses BlackBerry e-mail. The lawsuit targets Research in Motion's 8100, 8130, 8320, 8800, 8820 and 8830 model devices, as well as BlackBerry Exchange Server software.
The technology includes a method of storing contact information in wireless e-mails, a way of recognizing incoming phone numbers, a way of controlling access to new applications on a wireless-messaging device and ways to improve functions on the menu-driven interface of a phone handset, court papers show.
Research in Motion filed its own lawsuit in federal court in Dallas on Saturday claiming that Motorola infringed Research in Motion patents, Research in Motion spokeswoman Tenille Kennedy said Monday.
In 2006, Research in Motion paid $612.5 million to settle a patent dispute with NTP Inc., ending a four-year legal battle and averting the shutdown of BlackBerry e-mail service across the U.S. NTP claimed its patents covered technology used in BlackBerry devices.