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BlackBerry wireless device maker Research In Motion (RIM, Waterloo, ON, Canada) inked a deal to license part of the JPEG file format patent from Forgent Networks (Austin, TX), the companies said.
The one-time perpetual license covers all of RIM's BlackBerry devices and its BlackBerry Connect messaging service, which allows wireless always-on access to e-mail and corporate data on portable devices. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Forgent spokesman Michael Noonan noted that the software maker may have discounted its usual rate for RIM in the same way that it did for Sony in 2002, when the Japanese entertainment company paid $16 million to freely use JPEG technology. Usual royalty rates for Forgent's JPEG patent vary between one quarter of 1 percent and 1 percent of the retail cost of the device, hardware or software, Noonan explained. RIM's license is all-inclusive to avoid a cost breakdown of each device with RIM's technology.
After struggling to sell videoconferencing systems, the company began to examine its patents in 2000. In a patent portfolio acquired from Compression Labs (San Jose, CA) in 1997, it discovered a patent it alleged covered JPEG, the popular compression standard.
Since then, Forgent has amassed more than $100 million in royalties from camera makers, software developers and others on the JPEG patent, No. 4,698,672, also known as the '672 patent.