Blackberry maker Research in Motion (RIM) has been ordered to pay $147 million in damages after losing a patents case.
A jury in San Francisco upheld claims by Mformation Technologies Inc that RIM infringed patents it took out in 1999.
The software involved allows companies to access employees’ mobile phones remotely for upgrades, password changes or to delete data.
The fine was calculated by the judge as $8 per Blackberry device in use since the claims were first filed in 2008.
“We believe [the patents have] been fundamental to the success of Research in Motion,” said Amar Thakur, a lawyer for the winning side.
The damages only relate to royalties on past sales in the US, and does not cover future sales or sales outside the US.
A jury in San Francisco upheld claims by Mformation Technologies Inc that RIM infringed patents it took out in 1999
“Mformation created the mobile device management category in the late 1990s and was innovating in this area well before most of the market understood the fundamental importance of wireless mobility management,” said the firm’s founder Rakesh Kushwaha in a press release.
The case adds to RIM’s problems. Since the introduction of Apple’s iPhone in 2007, sales in the Canadian firm’s core Western market have been steadily declining.
The company is cutting 5,000 jobs – almost a third of its workforce.
RIM said in a press release that it was: “disappointed by the outcome and is evaluating all legal options.
“Additionally, the trial judge has yet to decide certain legal issues that might impact the verdict. RIM will await those rulings before deciding whether to pursue an appeal.”
Research In Motion (RIM), the company behind the Blackberry smartphone, has warned it will make a loss in its latest quarter and make “significant” job cuts.
RIM also said it was hiring JPMorgan and RBC Capital Markets to help with a “strategic review” of the business.
It has lost ground as its traditional business clients have switched to iPhones or Android phones.
RIM shares fell 10% in after-hours trading.
Research In Motion (RIM), the company behind the Blackberry smartphone, has warned it will make a loss in its latest quarter and make "significant" job cuts
Some have speculated that the strategic review may lead to a sale of the firm.
“The on-going competitive environment is impacting our business in the form of lower volumes and highly competitive pricing dynamics in the marketplace, and we expect our first-quarter results to reflect this, and likely result in an operating loss for the quarter,” chief executive Thorsten Heins said.
“There will be significant spending reductions and headcount reductions in some areas throughout the remainder of the fiscal year,” he added.
In the last financial year, RIM made a net profit of $1.2 billion, down from $3.4 billion in the previous year.
Thorsten Heins added: “Our global subscriber base continued to grow this quarter to approximately 78 million, driven primarily by growth in international markets, which is partially offset by high churn in the United States.”
Once heralded as one of the fastest-growing companies in the world, RIM has struggled to keep up with rivals in the smartphone market, such as Apple’s iPhone and handsets running on Google’s Android operating system.
It has also struggled to gain a foothold in the tablet market.
The launch of Blackberry 10, expected later this year, and a much-delayed new operating system, are expected to be crucial to its turnaround plan.