Research in Motion: a Study in International Intellectual Property

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Research In Motion: A Study in International Intellectual Property

by

Paul A. Langfield, M.S.

An Introduction to Research In Motion (RIM)

Canadian-based company Research In Motion (RIM) is an excellent case study in the challenges associated with Intellectual Property rights, especially in light of the company’s need to operate within the Intellectual Property frameworks of countries across the globe. Started by then twenty-three year old, Mike Lazardis in 1984, RIM has been involved on both sides of patent infringement law suits since the year 2000. RIM began in earnest as a venture capital endeavor with an initial venture of $5 million in 1995 and a total pre-IPO venture of $30 million by 1998. Since the start of the millennium, RIM has been engaged in patent-related legal struggles with Glenayre Electronics, Good Technology, Handspring, NTP, inc., Visto, Xerox and Motorola (Research In Motion Limited (RIM), 2010). Despite the legal troubles, by 2007 RIM became the most valuable company in Canada (Loblaw, 2007). In 2008 RIM was named one of “Canada’s Top 100 Employers (Research In Motion Limited (RIM), 2010), and Fortune Magazine identified RIM as the fastest growing company in the world in August of 2009 (Benner & Cendrowski, 2009).

RIM’s Intellectual Property Challenges

RIM’s challenges with various other firms regarding patents began in 1999 and have been consistent up to the current time. RIM has met these challenges head-on utilizing the US legal system both by initiating lawsuits as well as filing counter claims. Ultimately the law suits were either settled out of court, or resulted in licensing agreements for use of patented technology. The first suit initiated by RIM was in 2001 against a competitor called Glenayre Electronics regarding RIM’s “Single Mailbox Integration” patent. According to Wikipedia, the suit was “partly in response to an earlier infringement suit filed by Glenayre against RIM” and resulted in a settlement...
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