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BlackBerry defeats NXP in U.S. trial over patents

The company logo is seen at the Blackberry campus in Waterloo, September 23, 2013. REUTERS/Mark Blinch
The company logo is seen at the Blackberry campus in Waterloo, September 23, 2013. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

By Jonathan Stempel

(Reuters) - A federal jury in Florida on Monday ruled in favor of Blackberry Ltd in a lawsuit accusing the company of infringing three patents belonging to Dutch semiconductor company NXP BV.

NXP in April 2012 sued BlackBerry, then known as Research in Motion, alleging that versions of the BlackBerry phone and PlayBook tablet infringed patents related to the design, data transmission and other features of those devices.

The lawsuit originally covered six patents, but NXP later dropped its claims related to three of the patents. NXP sought unspecified damages, including triple damages.

Jurors needed less than a day of deliberations before ruling in BlackBerry's favor, in a trial that began on March 24, court records show.

In a statement, NXP said it was disappointed with the verdict and is "investigating all options for appeal." NXP is listed on the Nasdaq as NXP Semiconductors NV.

Steve Zipperstein, BlackBerry's chief legal officer, said in a statement that his company was pleased with the jury's verdict, which included a finding that the patents asserted by NXP were invalid.

Litigation remains a major weapon in a global patent war among makers of smartphones, tablet computers and operating software, including such companies as Apple Inc, Samsung Electronics Co and Google Inc.

BlackBerry was once a dominant force in smartphones, but the Waterloo, Ontario-based company has lost much of its market share to Apple's iPhone and gadgets powered by Google's Android operating system.

Eindhoven, Netherlands-based NXP was spun off from Koninklijke Philips Electronics NV in 2006.

BlackBerry shares fell 15 cents to C$8.62 in Monday trading in Toronto. On the Nasdaq, BlackBerry shares fell 14 cents to $7.86.

The case is NXP BV v. Blackberry Ltd et al, U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida, No. 12-00498.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York, Additional reporting by Devika Krishna Kumar in Bangalore,; Editing by Jonathan Oatis, G Crosse and Ken Wills)

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