* Deal complements RIM's existing IP portfolio
* RIM, Apple in patent fight with Kodak
TORONTO, March 30 Research In Motion RIM.TO
RIMM.O has reached a deal with Intellectual Ventures that
will give the BlackBerry maker access to more than 30,000
patents held by the intellectual property company.
Intellectual Ventures gave no terms for the deal, but said
it would help RIM remain competitive by giving it access to a
broader set of patents to help manage its business.
"Intellectual Ventures offers an efficient way to access
the invention rights companies need to stay competitive within
the market," Mario Obeidat, the patent company's head of
telecom licensing, said on Wednesday in a statement.
Legal battles have become increasingly common in the
cellphone sector since Apple (AAPL.O) and Google (GOOG.O)
carved out a chunk of the lucrative and quickly expanding
smartphone market at the expense of older players.
Both RIM and Apple are locked in a legal battle with
Eastman Kodak EK.N over a method for previewing images, while
Apple is also fighting Nokia's NOK1V.HE patent infringment
claims in courts in the United States and Europe.
Intellectual Ventures is a privately-held company
co-founded by former Microsoft (MSFT.O) chief technology
officer Nathan Myhrvold. It counts Samsung (005930.KS) and HTC
(2498.TW) among its customers.
In December, Intellectual Ventures sued nine companies for
infringing patents covering technologies used in
telecommunications, computing and networking. [ID:nN08180806]
RIM is also a member of RPX, a defensive patent aggregator
that acquires patents so they cannot be invoked in lawsuits
against its corporate members.
RIM paid $612 million in 2006 to settle a patent dispute
with a small company called NTP, ending five years of legal
wrangling that almost shut down BlackBerry services in the
The Canadian company has since aggressively patented
inventions and spent heavily to bulk up its patent portfolio.
It sued startup company Kik Interactive late last year,
claiming its founder, a former RIM employee, had infringed
patents by building a cross-platform instant messaging service
that rivaled RIM's own BlackBerry Messenger. [ID:nN01208792]
(Reporting by Alastair Sharp; editing by Janet Guttsman)