Eatoni Ergonomics has filed a lawsuit against Research in Motion, claiming that the BlackBerry 7100 series of smartphones violates one of its patents.
The 7100 series are the first BlackBerries that don’t include a full keyboard. Instead, they merge a keyboard and a numberpad in a design created by RIM. Each key handles two letters, and the devices include predictive text software.
Eatoni Ergonomics has a patent on using fewer keys and predictive text to simulate a full keyboard, a patent that it says RIM is violating.
“The problem,” alleges Howard Gutowitz, Eatoni CEO, “is that the RIM 7100 is good, good enough to infringe the patent, but not good enough to create a new standard for mobile text entry. That’s why we have to stop it now, and hopefully convince RIM and others to introduce new devices which implement the technology properly.”
For its part, RIM says that Eatoni’s patent (No.6,885,317) is invalid for several reasons, including lack of novelty.
According to CNET News.com, the two companies are going to attempt to negotiate a settlement to this lawsuit, rather than going to court.
If they are unsuccessful, their trial is scheduled for next year in the Northern District of Texas.
More information on this patent-infingement lawsuit is available on the Eatoni Ergonomics web site.