RealTime IT News

RIM Says It's Good to Sue

When Good Technology launched last May, it had notions of fighting the entrenched Research In Motion Limited (RIM) in the wireless communications software market. Now it seems the two will be duking it out in court instead.

Waterloo, Ontario's RIM Wednesday officially filed a complaint in a U.S. district court against rival upstart Good, alleging that the Sunnyvale, Calif. firm is using similar technology for its own software and services.

RIM filed suit in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware, claiming that Good's products infringe on four patents, some of which the Canadian firm has held since 1994.

The patents are part of RIM's Wireless Integration Patent Portfolio and include U.S. Patent Nos. 5,559,800, 5,715,387, 5,802,312 and 6,396,482. Moreover, they consist of core business functions of RIM's software and handhelds.

No. 5,559,800 relates to a method and apparatus to remotely control gateway functions in a wireless data network. No. 5,715,387 addresses a method and system for loading an application program on a device. No. 5,802,312 relates to a method and system for transmitting data files between computers in a wireless data environment. No. 6,396,482 regards a mobile device that is optimized for use with thumbs.

Mark Guibert, vice president of brand management at RIM, told internetnews.com via e-mail that his firm recently became concerned about the marketing positioning of Good, some elements of which he said were similar to the company's flagship Blackberry feature set.

"We welcome fair competition, but we condemn copycat technology that violates our intellectual property rights as Good Technology is doing (and as can be seen in the communications on their web site)," Guibert said.

Guibert said RIM is asking the court for an injunction and an award of monetary damages for Good Technology's infringement of RIM's patents. More seriously, RIM asserts that Good committed such infringement knowing full well that it was illegal. For this, RIM is seeking additional financial compensation for the alleged offense.

The lawsuit is no surprise at all. In fact, Good was prepared for it. In May, Good, which has admitted to trying to crack the wireless device and software market RIM has entrenched itself in, filed a suit against RIM, claiming that the firm's patent on single unified e-mail is invalid. Good took such legal action as a preemptive strike, anticipating that RIM would sue it for patent infringement. Good did so because it said RIM had warned that Good was infringing on its patents before the company was launched.

Good launched in early May amid a flurry of speculation that it would give RIM strong competition with its products.