Jury rules against NXP in patent dispute with BlackBerry

NXP had alleged that versions of BlackBerry smartphone and its PlayBook infringed its patents

A jury in Florida has decided in favor of BlackBerry in a patent dispute with NXP.

The jury ruled Monday that BlackBerry's products did not infringe on three wireless communications patents and the claims were also found to be invalid.

"The verdict was a sweeping victory for BlackBerry, as the jury found both that BlackBerry did not infringe NXP's patents, and that the patents NXP asserted against BlackBerry are invalid," the smartphone maker said in a statement late Monday.

NXP, a subsidiary of Philips' spinoff NXP Semiconductors, filed suit in April 2012 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Orlando division alleging that BlackBerry products such as the BlackBerry Torch and Curve had infringed on six of its patents.

The patents cited by NXP were issued to it between 1997 and 2008, and included patents in the area of communications and integrated circuit design and manufacturing. Among the communications patents were a patent for a method and communication device for expanding the range of data transmission rates in wireless local area networks, and another for a mobile cellular telephone comprising a GPS (global positioning system) receiver, both assigned to Philips companies.

NXP could not be immediately reached for comment on the jury decision.

The dispute in the Florida court is just one of many patent disputes worldwide between smartphone makers.

".....we look forward to a time when technology companies will no longer be forced to spend huge amounts of time and money defending frivolous patent cases such as these, and instead invest their resources to drive innovation," BlackBerry Chief Legal Officer Steve Zipperstein said in the statement.

For the Canadian company, the win comes at a time when the company is losing its share in the smartphone market. The Blackberry operating system was the only smartphone OS to have negative year-over-year change both for the fourth quarter of 2013 and for the full year, research firm IDC said. Last week, BlackBerry said it would not renew its license to T-Mobile U.S., which is seen as a reaction to the carrier's email promotion of Apple's iPhone 5s to BlackBerry customers in February.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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