Motorola Inc. has filed a patent violation complaint against Blackberry maker Research In Motion Ltd. and is asking the U.S. International Trade Commission to initiate an investigation into its mobile handset rival. It also wants a ban on some RIM products already imported into the United States.
The Schaumburg, Ill.-based handset and communication gear vendor said RIM infringed upon five of its patents, including in "key technology areas, such as Wi-Fi access, application management, user interface and power management." All the patents are currently being used by RIM, the company said.
The wireless handset industry is currently being ripped apart by allegations of patent violations as competition within the sector heat up with market leader Nokia Corp. and iPhone vendor Apple Corp. engaged in tit-for-tat lawsuits related to ongoing patent disputes. Motorola's move against RIM is the latest in the warfare for dominance in the segment.
"In light of RIM's continued unlicensed use of Motorola's patents, RIM's use of delay tactics in our current patent litigation, and RIM's refusal to design out Motorola's proprietary technology, Motorola had no choice but to file a complaint with the ITC to halt RIM's continued infringement," said Jonathan Meyer, senior vice president of intellectual property law at Motorola.
The company said the technology allegedly violated by RIM "are important to Motorola as they allow for more comprehensive connectivity, a better user experience and lower product costs."
Once the No. 2 wireless handset vendor, Motorola's market share has fallen dramatically over the last few years and the company now trails Nokia, Korea-based Samsung and Sony-Ericsson.
Motorola has also put off plans to spin off its mobile handset division in response to falling market share and in continuation of plans first to revitalize the business. The company recently came out with a new set of handsets, including the Droid, which is reportedly doing better with consumers than many of its older products.
In addition to asking the ITC for an investigation of RIM, Motorola is also asking the industry body to "issue an exclusion order barring RIM's importation of infringing products, prohibiting further sales of infringing products that have already been imported; and halting the marketing, advertising, demonstration and warehousing of inventory for distribution and use of such imported products in the United States."