The maker of the iconic BlackBerry wireless device settled a patent lawsuit that could have spelled disaster for millions of users by shutting down its US service.
Research in Motion Ltd. said it had reached a “full and final settlement” worth 612.5 million dollars with NTP Inc., a US firm that had accused RIM of violating its patents in the mobile software used in the BlackBerry.
“All terms of the agreement have been finalized and the litigation against RIM has been dismissed by a court order this afternoon,” the Canadian BlackBerry maker said in a statement.
“NTP grants RIM an unfettered right to continue its business, including its BlackBerry-related business,” it said.
The BlackBerry, which can be used for phone calls, wireless e-mail and Internet browsing, became the world’s top-selling personal digital assistant last year with some 4.3 million users, moving ahead of Palm.
The prospect of a shutdown of the BlackBerry service had struck fear into the three million US users whose addiction to the device has earned it the nickname “CrackBerry”.
While the dispute was confined to the United States, RIM derives 70 percent of its revenues from US operations so any shutdown would have proved catastrophic for the company.
News of the settlement sent RIM’s shares rocketing in after-hours trade. Around 2300 GMT, the stock was up more than 17 percent at 84.31 dollars.