Suit loss adds to RIM’s woes
A US federal jury in San Francisco has found beleaguered Blackberry maker Research in Motion Ltd (RIM) liable for US$147.2 million in damages for infringing on patents held by Mformation Technologies Inc. Amar Thakur, a lawyer for Mformation, said Saturday that the verdict late on Friday followed a three-week trial and a week of deliberations by an eight-person jury. Mformation, of Edison, New Jersey, sued Research in Motion in October 2008, alleging that Canada-based RIM infringed on its 1999 invention for remotely managing wireless devices. Mformation’s software allows companies to remotely access employee cellphones to do software upgrades, change passwords or to wipe data from phones that have been stolen. Thakur said the jury ruled that RIM should pay his client US$8 for each of the 18.4 million BlackBerrys that were connected to the BlackBerry Enterprise Server, from the day the lawsuit was filed until the time of the trial.
Bolt key to Puma strategy
With the London Olympic games just days away, German sportswear giant Puma is pinning its hopes on sprint legend Usain Bolt to speed up sales and outpace its bigger competitors Adidas and Nike. Bolt, the world’s fastest man who blew away his rivals to win three gold medals in Beijing four years ago, is also a key plank in the firm’s strategy to shift its focus from lifestyle clothing to sportswear. Sportswear currently accounts for 35 percent of Puma sales, but the firm’s boss Franz Koch wants to boost that to 40 percent and the company sees its sponsorship of double world record holder Bolt as key to that aim.
For the full year, Puma is aiming at an increase of between 5 and 10 percent in turnover with a roughly 5 percent boost in net profits.
Kingfisher strike over
India’s struggling Kingfisher Airlines said late on Saturday its services would return to normal after a strike by employees over long overdue pay forced cancellation of more than three dozen flights. The announcement came after the airline’s owner, Vijay Mallya, told workers in an open letter that “damaging the future of Kingfisher in the public’s eyes is not going to produce cash” to pay wages and keep the carrier aloft. The walkout, the third in under two weeks, came after the airline — which owes vast sums to banks, suppliers and staff — won more time from lenders this month to come up with a recovery plan to avert bankruptcy. Kingfisher, which has US$1.4 billion in debts, is flying some 15 aircraft, down from an earlier 64 planes, as it battles to curb costs.
EU medicine body opens up
Europe’s medicines regulator, criticized in the past for excessive secrecy, is opening its data vaults to systematic scrutiny in a move that will let independent researchers trawl through millions of pages of clinical trial information. The change is a landmark in transparency that puts Europe ahead of the US, according to critics of the US$1 trillion-a-year global drugs industry, who have long argued for full access to trial data. Such information is a treasure trove for scientists wanting to test drug company claims and potentially expose product deficiencies. It is blow for the pharmaceutical industry, which guards its commercial secrets fiercely and has not before been required to share its data with independent researchers or academics.