Openwave Slaps Patent Suit on Apple, RIM; Aims to Block iPhone, iPad Imports into U.S.

 
on September 01 2011 12:40 AM

Openwave Systems, a phone software maker, filed a patent lawsuit against Apple (AAPL) and Reseach in Motion (RIMM) Wednesday, seeking to ban the import of the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Curve smartphone and PlayBook tablet into the United States.

The patent infringement lawsuit, which was filed at the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington and a federal court in Wilmington, Del., charges that as many as five of its patents relating to mobile Internet technology have been copied by Apple and RIM.

Openwave, which owns 200 patents, says Apple and RIM infringed on patents related to technologies used to connect smartphones and tablet computers to the Internet. The firm, based in Redwood City, Calif., said it had contacted Apple and RIM on this issue multiple times, to no avail.

Before filing these complaints, we approached both of these companies numerous times in an attempt to negotiate a license of our technology with them and did not receive a substantive response, Openwave chief executive Ken Denman told Reuters.

In the end, litigation is the only way we can defend our rights against these large companies that have effectively refused to license the use of the technologies we invented, Denman said. Openwave, whose software enables firms to analyze and optimize traffic on their wireless networks, posted a net loss in its last fiscal year.

Openwave says it expects a favorable decision by the ITC, placing hopes on ITC's mandate to block the import of products that infringe U.S. patents.

Denman told Bloomberg his firm's technology was “foundational to the mobile Internet and that it was Openwave's right to get paid for its use.

“There are people in the world who deliver products into the market that are leveraging our patented technology,” he added.

According to Bloomberg data, 31 percent of Openwave's sales came from licensing in the quarter ended in March. It provides wireless software to AT&T, Sprint Nextel, Telstra Corp., Deutsche Telekom and Taiwan Mobile Co.

Reuters said that while RIM declined to comment on Openwave's suit, Apple was not immediately available for comment.

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