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Handheld start-up sues RIM

Good Technology files a pre-emptive lawsuit against BlackBerry maker Research In Motion that seeks protection against patent infringement claims.

Handheld maker Good Technology has filed a pre-emptive lawsuit against BlackBerry maker Research In Motion, seeking protection against patent infringement claims.

Good is asking a U.S. District Court in California to declare that RIM's patent on a technology called single unified e-mail is invalid, or to declare that Good is not violating the patent, the company confirmed Tuesday. The suit, first reported in The Wall Street Journal, is likely a defensive maneuver designed to prevent RIM from filing its own patent claims against Good.

RIM's stock sank last week after reports that Good's new handheld devices--which, like RIM's BlackBerrys, can send and receive e-mail messages--will begin shipping this summer. After a tremendous early reception, RIM has struggled lately as competition has heated up.

"Hats off to Good Technology for launching GoodLink with a splash. We think that, for now, increased competition will help expand the market," wrote Goldman Sachs analyst Rajiv Das in a research note. "Good has positioned its GoodLink solution to address some of the real and perceived weaknesses of the RIM BlackBerry solution."

RIM has proven litigious in the past. Last year, the company engaged in a patent battle with Glenayre Technologies, a case that was eventually settled, with Glenayre agreeing that RIM's patents were valid.