Smartphone Wars

In what could be a new blow to ailing smart-phone maker Research-in-Motion, Nokia Corp. has announced that it has filed a lawsuit against the renowned Blackberry manufacturer for allegedly breaching a patent licensing agreement.

Nokia bases its claims on a patent licensing agreement with RIM. The dispute arose out of the scope of the licensing agreement: Nokia claiming that it covers patents for GSM, WCDMA and CDMA2000 technologies, while RIM states that the license also covers WLAN technology.

The suit comes on the heels of an arbitration held in Stockholm, Sweden whereby, according to Nokia spokesman Mark Durrant, RIM was found to have breached the contract at issue. The legal action pending in the United States seeks to enforce the Stockholm arbitral award.

It is unclear whether RIM will move the court to set aside the arbitral award. Arbitral awards are most often enforced in American courts and are notoriously difficult to set aside. The current law governing the enforcement of arbitral awards, the Federal Arbitration Act, seriously limits judges’ abilities to look behind the ruling of an award and only allows courts to overrule arbitration panels on certain limited and enumerated grounds. For example, RIM would have to prove that an arbitrator was impartial and therefore jeopardized the fairness of the proceeding.

Since May, Nokia has also been battling RIM in both US and German courts, claiming that RIM and HTC and ViewSonic have infringed a number of its patents.

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About Gershon Abramoff

Third Year Law School Student at Brooklyn Law School

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