Blackberry Patents Again

February 9, 2010

In Research in Motion UK Ltd v Motorola Inc [2010] EWHC 118 (Pat), Mr Justice Arnold has refused Motorola’s claim that the Blackberry wireless handheld device infringes certain Motorola patents.  

The case was decided on a very careful analysis of the technical issues surrounding application level command protocol conversion and remote transmittable messages. It turned on conclusions on what was ‘general knowledge’ among the relevant specialists in 1995. While the case offers no new law, it is of interest to those involved in the more obscure areas of patent litigation – a field dominated by obscurity in any event. 

The EPLaw Patent blog summarises the case thus: 

Motorola alleged that two systems operated by Research In Motion (“RIM”), BlackBerry Enterprise Solution (“BES”) and BlackBerry Internet Solution (“BIS”), infringed its Message Communication System patent.  RIM denied infringement and counterclaimed to revoke the patent. 

The Court ruled that the BES system did not infringe the patent because it construed the specification to be restricted to a messaging gateway system which was operable to construct messages transmittable by a RF transmission system.  The messages sent by BES servers were not suitable for RF transmission.  The BIS system was held not to have infringed the patent because its servers were in Canada.  It followed that RIM did not offer the claimed method for use in the UK within section 60(1)(b) of the Patents Act 1977 nor did it supply means for putting the invention into effect in the UK.  The Court also held the patent to be invalid for lack of inventive step over the prior art.