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September 16, 2005

Vendor Claims BlackBerry Keyboard Infringes Patent



Courtesy of Mobile Pipeline

A developer of predictive text input technology for mobile devices sued Research In Motion (RIM) this week, claiming that RIM's BlackBerry 7100 series of devices infringes on its patents.

In court filings in federal court in the Northern District of Texas, Eatoni Ergonomics claimed it owns a fundamental patent on small keyboards that look and act like full-sized keyboards. The company has asked the court to issue an injunction preventing the manufacture and sale of the devices.

"The problem is that the RIM 7100 is good, good enough to infringe the patent, but not good enough to create a new standard for mobile text entry," Howard Gutowitz, Eatoni's CEO, said in a statement. "That's why we have to stop it now, and hopefully convince RIM and others to introduce new devices which implement the technology properly."

Eatoni was granted a U.S. patent entitled "Touch-Typable Devices Based on Ambiguous Codes and Methods to Design Such Devices." The suit also names T-Mobile USA, which sells BlackBerry devices.

The suit is the latest move between the two companies. In April, RIM asked for a declaratory judgment against Eatoni after receiving what it claimed were threats that Eatoni would sue.

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