Nokia Oyj (NOK1V) sued BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd. (RIMM:US) in California to enforce an international arbitration award governing the sale of WLAN- compliant phones.
A Swedish arbitration court ruled Nov. 6 that RIM isn’t entitled to make or sell products compatible with the WLAN standard without first agreeing with Nokia on royalties. Mobile phones with the technology allow users to switch to wireless local area networks where available.
“Nokia and RIM have not agreed on the royalty to be paid,” Nokia said in a complaint filed Nov. 26 in federal court in San Jose. “RIM and its U.S. subsidiary RIM Corp. nevertheless continue to violate the award and breach the underlying agreement.”
Crystal Roberts, a RIM spokeswoman, said the company will respond to Nokia’s petitions “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,” Roberts said in an e-mailed statement.
Enforcement of the award is governed by the New York Convention signed by the U.S., Finland, Canada and Sweden, Nokia said. Nokia, based in Espoo, Finland, seeks a court order confirming the award and forcing Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM to pay its court costs and attorneys’ fees.
RIM filed the arbitration request in March 2011 after Nokia lodged patent-infringement suits against the company in Germany and a firm that now owns some Nokia patents sued RIM in federal court in Texas. RIM sought a decision that its 2008 licensing agreement covered all Nokia patents.
The arbitration panel ruled earlier this month that the agreement only covered patents deemed essential to three industry standards and Nokia acted within its legal rights when it transferred patents to a third party, knowing that company would sue RIM, according to the arbitration order.
The case is Nokia Corp. v. Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM), 12-5992, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).
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