RIM’s decision to take its patent issues with Nokia up with an arbitration tribunal appears to have backfired, after the Canadian smartphone maker was found to be in breach of contract. This has allowed Nokia to file actions in the US, UK and Canada in order to put an end to its licensing troubles.
In 2003, Nokia and RIM agreed to cross-license standards-essential patents, which was then amended in 2008. Nokia says that in 2011, RIM argued that these patents — which cover WLAN technologies — extended beyond cellular essentials and so the two parties headed to an arbitration tribunal.
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According to IDG, The patents in question are U.S. patents 5,479,476, which covers user-adjustable modes for phones; 5,845,219, which covers call alert during silent mode; 6,049,796, which covers real-time search on a personal digital assistant; 6,055,439, which covers a cellphone user interface; 6,253,075, which covers call rejection; and 6,427,078, which covers a small, handheld workstation.
The arbitration took place in September at the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce in Sweden, which acts as a neutral party to settle disputes.
Earlier today, Nokia announced that the tribunal had ruled against RIM, stating that it was “not entitled to manufacture or sell WLAN products without first agreeing royalties with Nokia.”
As a result, Nokia has moved to file actions in the US, UK and Canada, which it is says is aimed at “ending RIM’s breach of contract.”
Nokia emailed The Next Web with a full statement, which reads:
“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, 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 US, UK and Canada with the aim of ending RIM’s breach of contract.”
Nokia’s filings in the US, UK and Canada could see sales of some RIM smartphones blocked, unless the two companies can agree royalty rates.
We have contacted RIM for comment on the ruling, but have not received a response, we will update the article should we receive one.