Nokia and RIM have recently been involved in arbitration over some wireless local area network (WLAN) patents that RIM wanted added to an existing patent agreement it has with Nokia, and now the arbitrator has sided with Nokia on the matter. Reuters reports that the the arbitrator in the case has decided that "RIM was in breach of contract and is not entitled to manufacture or sell WLAN products without first agreeing royalties with Nokia." RIM and Nokia signed a cross-licensing agreement covering cellular patents in 2003 and amended it in 2008, and in 2011 RIM decided to seek arbitration because it felt that the agreement should also cover WLAN (frequently referred to as Wi-Fi) patents.
Now that the arbitrator has taken Nokia's side, the Finnish firm has filed cases in the U.S., U.K. and Canada to enforce the decision. Those cases could lead to RIM's products that use the WLAN patents being hit with a sales ban, though RIM does have the option of reaching an agreement to license the WLAN patents as well. RIM didn't argue the fact that it sells products using Nokia's WLAN patents, and since I'm sure that RIM would like its devices that utilize those patents remain on store shelves and to avoid any future issues with BlackBerry 10 hardware, it seems very possible that RIM will opt to sign another agreement with Nokia. RIM has yet to offer any insight into its plans by issuing a statement on today's news, but we'll update you if the company decides to talk.