From bad to worse: jury directs RIM to pay $147.2M

The hits just keep coming for Research in Motion Ltd.

Late Friday, a San Francisco federal court jury ordered the struggling smart-phone maker to pay $147.2 million to Mformation Technologies Inc., after it came out on the losing end of patent litigation.

Jurors determined that RIM’s Blackberry Enterprise Server application, which lets companies remotely manage their staff’s Blackberry devices, infringes on patents owned by Edison, N.J.-based Mformation.

Amar Thakur, an attorney for Mformation, told news outlets including Reuters and Bloomberg after the verdict was announced that the jury directed RIM to pay an $8 royalty for each of the 18.4 million non-government-issued U.S. BlackBerry devices connected to the company’s enterprise software. That $147.2 million could double, or even triple, once government customers, as well as future sales outside the U.S., are factored in.

Also read: RIM delays Blackberry 10 until 2013, cuts 5,000 jobs

The end of the three-week trial culminates a lawsuit that was filed in 2008 by Mformation. It claims to have presented its technologies to RIM during licensing discussions that bore no fruit, only to watch RIM later use its technologies in its enterprise software.

RIM press representatives have yet to return GigaOM’s Saturday-afternoon inquiry. However, RIM spokeswoman Crystal Roberts told Reuters that the company has pending legal motions that could overturn the verdict.

Of course, there’s never a good time to get hit with a $147.2 million court bill, but it’s hard to imagine the timing being much worse for RIM.

Last month, GigaOM’s Ryan Kim — using the cheery term “death spiral” —  outlined a flurry of simply awful first-quarter news for the company, starting with a 33 percent decline in revenue to $2.8 billion.

Not only did RIM announce 5,000 layoffs — just less than a third of its workforce — it also pushed back the debut of its Blackberry 10 until next year.

Oh, and RIM’s stock has declined 95 percent since its 2008 peak, and its share of the global smart phone market stands at only 6.4 percent, about half of where it stood last year.