Patent squabbles in the smartphone industry don’t always revolve around Samsung and Apple, it appears, with the news that Nokia has requested injunctions on archrival Research In Motion's (RIM) BlackBerry range.
The Finnish giant is seeking a sales ban on BlackBerry products in the UK, US and Canada over allegations that RIM has been using Wi-Fi technology patented by Nokia without paying any licence fees.
The legal action follows a recent arbitration process in Sweden that would have allowed RIM to extend an existing patent deal between the companies to cover the use of Wi-Fi connectivity as well.
However, after RIM failed to agree on a deal, the arbitrator was forced to rule in Nokia’s favour and find RIM accountable for compensating Nokia for every Wi-Fi enabled BlackBerry device it sells.
"RIM is liable to pay royalties and damages to Nokia for its ... sales of any subscriber terminals (handsets or tablets) ... compatible with the WLAN standard," said the arbitrator in the ruling.
"RIM has not contested that it manufactures and sells products using WLAN in accordance with Nokia's WLAN patents.”
The Canadian phone-maker said it would respond to Nokia’s threat of litigation "in due course".
“Research In Motion has worked hard to develop its leading-edge Blackberry technology and has built an industry-leading intellectual property portfolio of its own," RIM stated.
It’s clear RIM’s not going to simply cut a deal with and solve this spat amicably. However, that may be a very risky and costly move, especially with the imminent launch of the first BlackBerry 10 devices early next year.
The last thing we need is another arduous courtroom war, this time involving two beleaguered old giants.