A northern California jury has directed Research in Motion Ltd to pay $147.2 million in patent litigation over a remote management system for wireless devices, according to an attorney for the plaintiff, Mformation Technologies Inc. The verdict on Friday in a San Francisco federal court comes at a bad time for RIM, whose stock has fallen more than 70 percent in the past year as customers abandon the BlackBerry in favour of Apple's iPhone and a slew of devices using Google Inc's Android software. Amar Thakur, an attorney for Mformation, said the jury directed RIM to pay an $8 royalty for every BlackBerry device connected to RIM's enterprise server software, which brings the total award to $147.2 million. The verdict only covers U.S. sales through trial, Thakur said, and not future or foreign damages.
A representative for RIM could not immediately be reached for comment. Based in Waterloo, Ontario, RIM last month posted its first operating loss in eight years, and it was much deeper than expected. The company also said it was cutting 5,000 jobs, almost a third of its workforce, as it struggles win back its reputation as an industry innovator. Mformation sued RIM in 2008, bringing claims on a patent for a process that remotely manages a wireless device over a wireless network, a court filing says. According to its web site, Mformation helps corporations manage their smartphone inventory. The company also says it helps telecoms operators, such as AT&T and Sprint, with remote fixes and upgrades for users' gadgets. RIM argued that Mformation's patent claims are invalid because the processes were already being used when Mformation filed its patent application. The jury deliberated for four days this week before handing down its verdict, Thakur said.