Research In Motion Ltd. is suing Motorola Inc. over several patents used for wireless devices such as RIM's BlackBerry e-mail devices and Motorola's Razr smart phones.
The Waterloo, Ontario-based company is asking a court in Dallas to declare Motorola is breaching commitments it made to license essential patents to competitors on a fair and reasonable basis.
Research in Motion also says in a court filing, dated Saturday, that Motorola is violating nine RIM patents and is breaching a 2003 agreement by refusing to negotiate reasonable terms for an extension beyond January 2008.
The Canadian company's filing came one day after Motorola filed a suit against RIM, claiming it violated some of Motorola's patents.
The two companies, each innovators in wireless communications, have both collaborated and competed with each other over the years. However, Motorola was a pioneer in voice communications while RIM has focused on data communications.
The stakes could be huge, since the two companies compete in a multibillion-dollar global industry. The success of the BlackBerry and Pearl smart phones has enabled RIM to become one of Canada's most valuable companies.
RIM's claim, which has not been tested in court, says Motorola is trying to subvert an established standards-setting practice "in order to injure RIM, a successful competitor and rival."
The claim was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
"We have not yet reviewed the complaint but based on our understanding of the matter we believe their claims are entirely without merit and Motorola intends to vigorously defend itself," Motorola spokeswoman Jennifer Erickson said Monday.
Regarding the 2003 agreement, which RIM says Motorola is obliged to extend under reasonable terms, she said: "Our agreement with them expired and we have been unable to reach a suitable agreement, going forward."