To understand the history of the BlackBerry, it is important to understand the history of the company, Research in Motion. 
Two engineering students - Mike Lazaridis (University of Waterloo) and Douglas Fregin (University of Windsor) - co-founded Research in Motion. The company was set up as an electronics and computer science consulting business based in Waterloo. Within four years, the company would focus on the transmission of wireless data and setting up of wireless point-of-sale customer terminals using radio waves.
RIM's wireless foray takes off. The company becomes the first wireless data technology developer in North America and the first company outside Scandinavia to develop connectivity products for Mobitex wireless packet-switched data communications networks. The technology is mainly used for business communications, such as processing credit-card sales.
The company had been focusing on working with pagers, but the focus shifted to two-way wireless communication when the research staff found a way to not only receive a message on a pager, but to send messages back as well. Lazaridis was determined to turn this into a way to send e-mail over wireless networks. Jim Balsillie joins RIM, putting $250,000 of his own money into the company.
RIM introduces its first wireless handheld, the Inter@ctive Pager. Just a pager
RIM is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange as a publicly traded company - and raises more than $115 million from investors.
RIM introduces its first BlackBerry, a wireless handheld computer. The company signs agreements with several companies including BellSouth Wireless, IBM and Rogers Cantel, to provide wireless service. It offered a six-line display and allowed basic e-mail and two-way paging. Users could also browse specially formatted pages that offered news, weather, stock market data and travel information.
RIM is ranked as one of Canada's fastest-growing technology companies. The concentration of those companies in the Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont., region leads some to refer to the area as Silicon Valley North.
RIM is listed on the NASDAQ exchange. The company raises another $250 million to develop its BlackBerry technology.
RIM introduces the BlackBerry 850 Wireless Handheld, putting together e-mail, wireless data networks, and a traditional - if tiny - QWERTY keyboard so successfully in a hand-held device
RIM raises another $950 million through a share offering.
Nov. 13, 2001
A group of Illinois-based inventors files a lawsuit in a U.S. Federal Court, accusing RIM of building its wireless e-mail network by infringing on patents held by an American patent-company, NTP Inc. of Virginia.
RIM upgrades the BlackBerry to include voice and data transmission. E-mail capabilities are improved so users can access multiple e-mail accounts.
Nov. 21, 2002
A jury rules in favour of NTP and orders RIM to pay $23.1 million.
Aug. 5, 2003
A judge issues an injunction banning sales of the BlackBerry in the United States. But the ruling is stayed, when RIM files an appeal.
Research in Motion celebrates its 20th anniversary as the BlackBerry surpasses one million subscribers worldwide.
Dec. 14, 2004
An appeals court upholds most of the claims that RIM infringed on NTP's patents. The court also says part of the lower-court ruling was flawed and orders the lower court to take another look at the case.
Mar. 16, 2005
RIM agrees to pay $450 million to settle the dispute, sending its stock soaring more than 17 per cent.
June 9, 2005
RIM and NTP fail to finalize a settlement, and RIM says it will ask a judge to enforce the terms of the March deal.
Aug. 2, 2005
The case is sent back to the Federal Court in Richmond, Va., after the Appeals Court scales back its 2004 ruling.
Oct. 7, 2005
U.S. Appeals Court...