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Handspring to license RIM patents

The handheld maker sets the stage for licensing Research In Motion keyboard patents and paving the way to settle pending litigation.

Handspring plans to license Research In Motion's keyboard patents, paving the way to settle pending litigation from the maker of the BlackBerry wireless devices, the companies announced Tuesday.

Under the agreement, certain RIM patents will be licensed to Handspring, the maker of Treo handheld devices. Research In Motion also noted that once a definitive licensing agreement has been reached, it plans to drop its pending lawsuit against Handspring over copyright infringement.

In September, RIM filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Delaware against Handspring.

RIM alleged that keyboards on Handspring's Treo k180, 270 and 300 models violate its patents. The Treos provide a small keyboard that allows people to type with one thumb, a feature also found on RIM's BlackBerry devices.

"Our agreement with Handspring further validates our strong patent portfolio and leadership in innovative wireless communications solutions like BlackBerry," Jim Balsillie, RIM's co-chief executive, said in a statement.

RIM has been aggressive in pursing patent infringement suits. Other suits include those against Glenayre Technologies, in which it reached a settlement in February, and Good Technology, which recently won a round when a California judge denied RIM's request for a temporary restraining order.