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RIM Files Preemptory Suit Against German Patent-License Co.

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TORONTO (Dow Jones) Research In Motion has fired a preemptory strike against IP Com, asking a Texas federal court to declare that RIM hasn't infringed on three IP Com patents.

RIM, maker of the Blackberry smartphone, also asked the court to issue an injunction preventing IP Com from using the patents to sue RIM for infringement.

The suit was filed on May 28 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas division. RIM's U.S. headquarters are based in Dallas.

IP Com has countersued RIM in Germany, IP Com managing director, Cristoph Schoeller, told Dow Jones. He didn't provide details of the suit.

IP Com had been negotiating a license agreement with RIM when RIM filed its lawsuit, Schoeller said. "We thought we were in negotiations," he said, adding that he believes RIM may be trying to intimate IP Com.

Officials from RIM weren't immediately available for comment.

IP Com of Pullach, Germany, is a patent-license company, meaning it generates revenue solely by licensing and enforcing its intellectual property. It holds about 1,000 patents related to 2G, 2.5G and 3G GSM (global system for mobile communications) cellular-network technology. The patents were acquired in early 2007 from Robert Bosch, a German auto-parts supplier and engineering-services firm. The acquisition was funded in part by Fortress Investment Group (FIG), a large New York private-equity firm that holds close to a 50% stake in IP Com. IP Com's technology is patented in the U.S., Japan, China and many European countries.

The IP Com dispute is one of several infringement battles that RIM is waging. Earlier this year, the company traded infringement suits with Motorola Inc. (MOT) and it's in a long-running dispute with Visto Corp., a closely-held, wireless-email-software company.

RIM has been fortifying its patent portfolio in recent months as its surging revenue growth has made it a target of patent-infringement lawsuits. In its fiscal fourth quarter, RIM spent $310 million on patent acquisitions.

IP Com has sued Nokia for infringement in Germany and is seeking a 4-5% annual royalty from the Finnish cellphone maker. It also obtained a preliminary injunction on sales of the High Tech Computer Corp.'s HTC Touch Dual smartphone in Germany in March, but the preliminary injunction was stayed in Frankfurt District Court.

Schoeller declined to comment on the status of IP Com's case with HTC. He said the case with Nokia is pending.

-Stuart Weinberg, Dow Jones Newswires; 416-306-2026;

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

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