Palm OS-based PDA maker
today announced that it has entered into “an agreement in principle” regarding keyboard patents from
Research In Motion Ltd.
(RIM), makers of the popular Blackberry handheld communicator. If concluded successfully, the agreement will put to rest litigation that RIM had filed against Handspring earlier this year.
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RIM’s Blackberry communicators enable users to send and receive e-mail and perform other tasks. The devices, available in some configurations barely larger than conventional wireless pagers, sport thumb-activated QWERTY-style keyboards. Blackberries have become popular accessories for mobile workers who want to stay in touch when they’re out of the office, and since their introduction such keyboards have also become accessories for or integrated with certain products from Handspring and Palm Inc. as an alternative for users who don’t want to utilize Palm’s “Graffiti” handwriting recognition technology.
In September, RIM filed suit against Handspring Inc. alleging that certain devices in Handspring’s Treo line — the k180, 270 and 300 models — infringe RIM’s patent claims by incorporating “unique keyboard features implemented” by Blackberry handhelds.
Today’s announcement noted that RIM and Handspring have “signed an agreement in principle setting out the fundamental terms under which RIM will license certain RIM keyboard patents to Handspring.” Further details of the royalty-bearing license were not offered by either party, but RIM noted that it has agreed to dismiss its pending litigation against Handspring pending execution of a definitive agreement.