RIM appeal to be heard on June 7Research in Motion Ltd.’s (RIM) much-anticipated patent infringement appeal is set to be heard on June 7 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. RIM is appealing a U.S. district court ruling that its BlackBerry technology infringes on patents held by NTP Inc., particularly the use of radio waves to send email. While a loss in the higher court could cost RIM up to US$100 million, the company has been winning in other jurisdictions. In late March, RIM settled a two-year-old dispute with Good Technology. Terms of that settlement were not disclosed, but RIM will reportedly receive a lump sum payment from Good. RIM has been setting aside about 8% of revenue to cover damages if it loses the case against NTP. Vidéotron launches hotspot serviceVidéotron ltée officially unveiled its Wi-Fi service earlier this month at a major press event in Quebec City. The company announced that its service is already available at 10 hotels in the province and will soon be available in an eleventh. Vidéotron is working with i-hotel to offer the service to hotel patrons. Hotspots are now operational in hotels in Quebec City, the greater Montreal region and will soon be available in Gatineau. Vidéotron counts more than 435,000 high-speed Internet and dial-up Internet customers, making it the leader in Quebec. Companies bid for VC money next monthSay the right things in 15 minutes and your company could secure venture capital money; that’s the theme at this year’s 9th annual Canadian IT Financing Forum to be held next month in Toronto. Forty companies have been carefully selected to pitch their company to about 20 venture capital firms. Companies such as Spotwave Wireless and Tira Wireless will get their 15 minutes with the likes of BCE Capital, Boston Millennia Partners, Innovatech, Kodiak Venture Partners and more. CWTA and Dominion Institute to engage youth in election issuesThe Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) and the Dominion Institute have launched an aggressive text-messaging campaign designed to engage the country’s youth in election issues. Unveiled on April 19, the campaign will allow Canadian wireless subscribers to send text messages to the federal political parties either asking questions or making statements via short codes. The political parties will also be able to reply using SMS. More information on the program can be found on the CWTA’s short code web site www.txt.ca.In the last federal election, only 25% of Canadians aged 18 to 24 voted and the CWTA believes this campaign will help increase that number. “There’s a next to perfect fit between the demographic who most uses text messaging and persons not likely to vote in elections,” CWTA president and CEO Peter Barnes said in a news release. CSI introduces Bluetooth GPS receiverCalgary-based CSI Wireless Inc. has introduced the PowerMAX, a differential GPS receiver with built-in Bluetooth technology, eliminating the need for a hard-wired link between the devices. The company unveiled the product in Nashville on April 20 at the annual American Congress on Surveying and Mapping. The product is primarily aimed at the geographic information systems (GIS) and mapping markets, although the PowerMAX can be used in any industry to simplify multi-device communications. “PowerMAX is the next generation in our family of DGPS receivers, and an ideal marriage of our expertise in both differential GPS and wireless technology,” CSI president and CEO Stephen Verhoeff said in a news release. Alberta city selects Glentel for communications systemThe City of Leduc, Alberta has chosen a wireless communications system from Glentel Inc. The company has been contracted to provide a broadband wireless link between the city’s civic centre and its public services building. A news release stated: “The City of Leduc requires a secure, cost-effective solution to meet its municipal telecommunications needs.” FINANCIAL RESULTSLook Communications reports mixed financial/subscriber resultsStruggling MDS operator Look Communications Inc. released mixed Q4 and year-end 2003 financial and subscriber results on April 16 noting that while revenue and subscriber figures were down, average revenue per user (ARPU) was up by more than a $1. Revenue for Q4 was $12 million compared to $12.6 million in the fourth quarter of the previous year. Fiscal year revenue was down substantially in 2003, dropping to $48.8 million from $56.5 million in 2002. On an aggregate basis, the company lost 400 digital TV subscribers in Q4 and 5,600 for the entire year. Look now has 40,900 digital TV subscribers. Despite continuing to suffer subscriber losses, Look announced that its customer ARPU figure actually increased in the fourth quarter. Q4 ARPU reached $30.37 compared to $29.34 in the fourth quarter of 2002. Sierra Wireless reports strong first-quarter resultsSierra Wireless Inc. has released strong first-quarter financial results, which company president and CEO David Sutcliffe said are the result of strong growth in the North American market. The maker of the popular AirCard network access card family of products posted revenue of US$41.6 million with a profit of US$4.6 million. Sierra Wireless also says that it recorded positive cash flow from operations. In a news release announcing the results, Sutcliffe said revenue was up significantly, reflecting strong demand for the AirCard family of products, embedded modules and mobile products. “Investment continues in market development and new products including the Voq Professional Phone and the AirCard 775 for EDGE networks. We continue to focus on profitable growth,” he added. Rogers Wireless posts strong subscriber and revenue resultsRogers Wireless Inc. recorded strong net post-paid subscriber additions of 83,200 for the first quarter ended March 31, but those gains were partially offset by a loss of 29,400 pre-paid subscribers in the same quarter. The decline was the result of continued emphasis on higher-revenue subscribers and a spike in pre-paid churn from 2.57% in Q1 2003 to 3.8% in this year’s first quarter. Overall, the company added 53,800 net subscribers.Despite the mixed subscriber figures, the company continues to post healthy financials. Operating revenue jumped 19.3% in this year’s first quarter compared to revenue from last year's Q1. Operating profit increased 41.7%. Post-paid average revenue per user (ARPU) continues to increase as a result of increased penetration of enhanced services and growth of wireless data and roaming revenue. Wireless data revenue jumped 100% year-over-year growing from $13.3 million to $26.6 million. Wireless data services revenue represented about 4.9% of network revenue in Q1 compared to 2.9% in the first quarter of 2003.