International law firm Bird & Bird has acted for T-Mobile UK in an important patent infringement claim brought against it and Research In Motion UK (RIM) by Luxembourg based patent holding company Inpro Licensing relating to the supply of Blackberry devices. The High Court decision, which was made public this morning, was in favour of T-Mobile and RIM invalidating Inpro’s UK Patent.

The decision in the High Court today has been greeted with enormous relief by T-Mobile which is also one of the largest suppliers of Blackberrys to the UK market. James Blendis, Legal Director of T-Mobile (UK) said:

“We are obviously very pleased with the result and are grateful to Bird & Bird for all their hard work on this case.”

Inpro’s patent (EP 0892947) covered a computer system which reduced the processing power used by portable computers and other devices in accessing servers on the internet. It described using a “proxy-server” to download data from the web on behalf of the device. The proxy-server then “transposed” the data to match the specific size and resolution of the device.

RIM applied to the English High Court to revoke the patent on the grounds that it was invalid for lack of novelty and obviousness. Inpro counter-claimed for infringement of the patent and joined T-Mobile into the proceedings.

Mr Justice Pumfrey who gave judgment today held that all the claims in issue were either obvious or lacking in novelty.

Patent disputes concerning Blackberrys have been fought in a number of jurisdictions. A parallel infringement action brought by Inpro in Germany against T-Mobile was defeated last Friday when the German Court in Munich gave a decision invalidating Inpro’s German patent. Although concerning a different patent, litigation brought by NTP is also on-going in the US against RIM which is now reaching its final stages.

The Bird & Bird team acting for T-Mobile was led by Peter Brownlow assisted by Claire Bennett. RIM was represented by Lovells while Decherts acted for Inpro. The barristers acting for RIM and T-Mobile were Anthony Watson QC and Tom Hinchcliffe. It is not known whether Inpro intend to appeal the decision.

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Peter Brownlow


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