TeleCommunication sues BlackBerry maker

BUISNESS DIGEST

December 21, 2007|By Tricia Bishop | Tricia Bishop,SUN REPORTER

Seven months after a jury awarded it more than $12 million in a patent infringement lawsuit, Annapolis-based TeleCommunication Systems Inc. has filed a similar suit - this time against the makers of the addictive BlackBerry.

The suit, which TeleCommunication said it filed yesterday in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, alleges that BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd. is infringing upon a patent that governs the way wireless users access e-mail applications. It asks the court to award damages and issue an injunction to prevent RIM from further infringement.

RIM did not respond to requests for comment yesterday.

A separate patent lawsuit against RIM by NTP Inc. of Virginia caused BlackBerry devotees excessive anxiety last year when a judge considered shutting down the service, which offers instant e-mail exchanges, day planning and mobile-phone access, to satisfy an injunction request. The shutdown, which raised concerns among everyone from members of Congress to then-Mayor Martin O'Malley's staff, was averted when RIM, based in Waterloo, Ontario, paid $612.5 million to settle the lawsuit.

TeleCommunication Systems, which employs about 150 people in Maryland, declined to comment on the lawsuit yesterday. The company makes wireless data technology and has more than 40 patents, with applications for another 100 patents pending.

In 2006, its attorneys filed a patent lawsuit against Virginia's Mobile 365, since acquired by California-based Sybase Inc., alleging infringement of a patent associated with methods for sending text messages. In May, a jury awarded TeleCommunication $12.1 million in damages in that case, and a Virginia judge issued an injunction against Sybase in September. The injunction has been stayed pending an appeal of the jury's verdict.

TeleCommunication's stock closed up 43 cents, or 14.2 percent, at $3.45 on the Nasdaq stock exchange yesterday. RIM's shares rose $4.86 - 4.8 percent - to $106.99.

tricia.bishop@baltsun.com

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