In the past, Texas residents may have been divided over whether Nokia or BlackBerry made the best phones. While that battle is largely over, the two companies have still been engaged in legal battles. However, on Dec. 1, BlackBerry agreed to pay Nokia $137 million in accordance with a ruling from the International Court of Arbitration. This doesn’t mean that BlackBerry has stepped back from its assertion that Nokia has infringed on its intellectual property rights.
In February 2017, BlackBerry claimed that Nokia infringed on 11 different patents that the company owns. The intellectual property is considered valuable to BlackBerry because its business model is changing to licensing from actually making phones or other electronics. BlackBerry’s CEO has said that it wants to focus more on security and software, and that this may be harder to do without respect for its patents.
One reason why a company pursues a patent or other protection for its intellectual property is to control how it is used. In some cases, companies may allow other businesses to pay a licensing fee to make use of an idea. However, if another business doesn’t have permission to use a company’s protected idea, it could be patent infringement. If an idea is used in a manner that is outside of a licensing deal, that could represent breach of contract.
Depending on the severity of the breach, it may be possible to settle a contract dispute with informal or amicable talks. If good faith efforts to resolve the matter don’t work, it may be possible to take it to court. An attorney may be able to help a business show that it has a patent or otherwise is the rightful owner of an idea. If successful, owners of intellectual property may obtain compensation.