RIM, Motorola, UTStarcom face infringement suit

Canadian technology licensing company Wi-Lan launched a new round of patent infringement lawsuits, targeting Motorola, Research In Motion, and UTStarcom.

A Reuters report quoted Wi-Lan as saying that it has started litigation in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division, alleging that the companies' mobile devices and other equipment infringe Wi-Lan patents.

It did not specify what damages or remedies it will seek under the legal action.

It is impossible to predict the outcome of such a case, said Haywood Securities analyst Dev Bhangui, because companies typically come under heavy pressure to settle outside court and avoid the risk of an uncertain ruling.

'It's a high-stakes poker game,' he said, quoted by the Reuters report.

BlackBerry maker RIM, for example, paid NTP €392.7 million (US$612.5 million) to settle a damaging and drawn-out patent infringement fight in 2006.

The Ottawa-based company also said on Friday that it has settled its dispute with Marvell Semiconductor in the US District Court for the Northern District of California. It did not disclose terms.

Wi-Lan recently said that it has cash reserves to fight patent suits and negotiate deals, the Reuters report added.

In late 2007, the company launched litigation against 22 major technology manufacturers, including Apple, Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Intel, claiming patent infringement.

Formerly a money-losing wireless equipment maker, Wi-Lan switched gears in 2006 to build a storehouse of patents through acquisition, the Reuters report further said.