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.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- Pay-as-you-Grow Data Protection: IBM Tivoli's Full-featured Data Protection Suite for Small to Medium Businesses IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Suite for Unified Recovery gives small and medium businesses the opportunity to start out with only the individual solutions...
- Streamline Data Protection with IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Operations Center IBM Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) has been an industry-standard data protection solution for two decades. But, where most competitors focus exclusively on Backup...
- Simplify and Consolidate Data Protection for Better Business Results Learn about IBM® Tivoli® Storage Manager Operations Center, which provides advanced visualization, built-in analytics and integrated workflow automation features that leapfrog traditional backup...
- HP HAVEn: See the big picture in Big Data HP HAVEn is the industry's first comprehensive, scalable, open, and secure platform for Big Data. Enterprises are drowning in a sea of data...
- Meg Whitman presents Unlocking IT with Big Data During this Web Event you will hear Meg Whitman, President and CEO, HP discuss HAVEn - the #1 Big Data platform, as well...
- The New Way to Work Knowledge Vault This Knowledge Vault focuses on how, in today's increasingly virtual world, it's more important than ever to engage deeply with employees, suppliers, partners,... All Smartphones White Papers | Webcasts