Visto sues RIM for patent infringement
And they're seeking a network shutdown, unspecified damages
IDG News Service - BlackBerry users have another patent lawsuit to worry about. Just weeks after their service was nearly shut down by a lawsuit brought by NTP Inc., the wireless e-mail devices are now being threatened by legal action brought by software provider Visto Corp.
In a lawsuit filed Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Visto claims that Research In Motion Ltd.'s (RIM's) BlackBerry service violates four Visto patents. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and asks the court to shut down BlackBerry's service in the U.S.
The patents in question relate to the accessing and synchronizing of information over a network and are fundamental to the BlackBerry service, said Brian Bogosian, Visto's chairman, president and CEO, speaking during a Monday conference call. "RIM should not be able to sell the BlackBerry system," he said.
Visto's lawsuit was filed on the same day a Texas jury awarded the company $3.6 million in a similar patent lawsuit against competitor Seven Networks Inc. Three of the four patents in the RIM lawsuit were also invoked in the Seven Networks lawsuit, Visto said.
RIM downplayed the significance of the Seven Networks decision. "Vistos patent claims as directed against Seven Networks refer to a different type of system than RIMs technology," the BlackBerry vendor said in a statement. "RIM believes it does not infringe Vistos patents."
RIM is considering a patent counter-suit against Visto, the company said.
Founded in 1996, Visto's e-mail and calendaring applications are used by more than 200,000 customers worldwide and are available through a number of wireless services, including those of AT&T Inc., Bell Canada Inc. and Vodafone Group PLC.
Though Visto alleges that RIM has been violating its patents for years, the company had a couple of reasons for waiting until now to file the lawsuit, Bogosian said. Visto, which is also suing Microsoft Corp. and Good Technology Inc. for violating some of these same patents, did not want to "dilute" its legal resources by launching the suit before the Seven Network judgment, he said.
RIM settled its long-running legal battle with NTP in March, paying NTP $612.5 million to settle all of its claims.
This settlement was also a factor in Visto's decision to move forward with its own lawsuit, Bogosian said. "There was a very significant and real risk that RIM would be shut down," he said. "In our opinion, it did not make sense to launch a litigation at that time."
Visto is now ready for a "protracted battle" against the BlackBerry maker, Bogosian said. The Redwood Shores, Calif.-based company has no plans to launch similar lawsuits outside of the U.S., he added.
Either way, a resolution could take until the middle of 2007 for "material court proceedings" to begin, RIM said.
Bogosian also left the door open to the possibility of a settlement that would not involve a BlackBerry shutdown, provided "a reasonable resolution" could be found. "We're also business people," he said.
"RIM does not expect its customers to be impacted by Vistos complaint," the company said.
This story has been corrected from an earlier version.
- Silicon Valley's 19 Coolest Places to Work
- Is Windows 8 Development Worth the Trouble?
- 8 Books Every IT Leader Should Read This Year
- 10 Hot Hadoop Startups to Watch
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- Infographic: Converged Infrastructure Benefits This Infographic quantifies the savings organizations are realizing from increased deployment speed, higher availability, and lower annual costs.
- CIOs Deliver Productivity Breakthroughs with Intelligent Digital Signage Retailers have long recognized the influence that digital signage provides over a shopper's point-of-purchase decision making process.
- Going Paperless? Here's What You Need to Think About As makers of some of the world's most popular PDF solutions, we often consult with businesses & governmental agencies that have the goal...
- The Big Data Opportunity for HR and Finance If CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, and CHROs want to drive their businesses forward, they will need to quickly recognize the enormous value of big...
- Top 4 Digital Signage Fails Join RMG Networks for a look at four of the most common reasons digital signage fails in corporate businesses. Learn about strategies to...
- Building Tomorrow's Infrastructure Listen to this podcast to discover how Crider Foods worked with PC Connection to update their IT infrastructure, while maintaining compliance and control. All Smartphones White Papers | Webcasts
Our new weekly Consumerization of IT newsletter covers a wide range of trends including BYOD, smartphones, tablets, MDM, cloud, social and what it all means for IT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!