Motorola, RIM settle long-running patent dispute

Motorola (NYSE:MOT) and BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM) settled their legal feud related to patents for smartphones. As part of the arrangement, which settles all litigation between the two companies, RIM agreed to pay Motorola a one-time fee as well as ongoing patent royalties.

The two companies did not disclose the financial terms of their cross-licensing deal. Both companies, which are increasingly competing for smartphone customers, have been locked in a legal dispute over the patents since a previous pact expired in 2007. The new deal relates to patents for 2G, 3G and 4G standards, as well as for 802.11 WiFi technology and wireless email. The pact also includes the transfer of some patents.

Competition between the two companies has ratcheted up recently. RIM kicked Motorola out of the global top 5 handset maker rankings in April, according to research firm IDC. Motorola has been trying to storm back into smartphones on the strength of its portfolio of devices running on Google's Android platform.

Of course, this is not the only dispute between tech titans in the smartphone market. Nokia (NYSE: NOK) and Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) have been locked in a patent dispute since last fall, and, more recently, Apple and Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC have sued each other over patents. Indeed, RIM is no stranger to paying out at the settlement table; the company agreed in 2006 to a one-time payment of $612.5 million to settle its contentious patent disagreement with patent-holding firm NTP.

For more:
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this Dow Jones Newswires article (sub. req.)
- see this Bloomberg article

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