Handspring licenses RIM keyboard technology
Handspring has announced
an agreement with RIM to license certain keyboard patents.
Mountain View, Calf. and Waterloo, ON (Nov. 5, 2002) —Research In Motion Limited (RIM) (Nasdaq: RIMM; TSX: RIM) and Handspring, Inc. (Nasdaq: HAND) today announced that they have signed an agreement in principle setting out the fundamental terms under which RIM will license certain RIM keyboard patents to Handspring. Specific terms of the royalty-bearing license were not disclosed. RIM has agreed to dismiss its pending litigation against Handspring following the execution of a definitive agreement.
The settlement is a little unnerving because of its potential impact on the portable device market as a whole. Many portable devices, including new PDAs from Palm and Sharp, now integrate thumb keyboards as a replacement for pen-based input. To me, it seems ludicrous that RIM should be able to patent something as simple as a thumb-operated keyboard, which makes me wish Handspring had taken more of a stand.