Skip to comments.Settlement Reached in BlackBerry Dispute
Posted on 03/03/2006 2:46:00 PM PST by July 4th
NEW YORK (AP) -- Research In Motion Ltd., the maker of the BlackBerry e-mail device, Friday announced it has settled its long-running patent dispute with a small Virginia-based firm, averting a possible court-ordered shutdown of the BlackBerry system. RIM has paid NTP $612.5 million in a "full and final settlement of all claims," the companies said.
The settlement ends a period of anxiety for BlackBerry users. At a hearing last week, NTP had asked a federal court in Richmond, Va., for an injunction blocking the continued use of key technologies underpinning BlackBerry's wireless e-mail service.
RIM, which is based in Waterloo, Ontario, had put away $450 million in escrow for a settlement. It will record the additional $162.5 million in its fourth-quarter results, it said.
many hand othopedic doctors are also cheering !!!
WOW, extortion does pay after all! NTP was on life support after their claims were unraveling.
To answer my own statement, apparently not long at all.
There's still something pretty fundamental that I guess I just don't understand about this. NTP's patent applications were not passing muster with the patent office... so what grounds did they have? There must be something solid, if it's worth RIM paying 600M to settle it.
Anyone? What am I missing?
Anyone know if RIM has patents that would discourage others from competing? I doubt that the NTP "patents" would stand in the way.
Well, we'll see what happens. As I stated earlier, I fully expect that within a few days we'll see either a settlement or a U.S. Blackberry shutdown, government clients excepted.
RIM could've avoided all of it if not for their early arrogance and the subsequent choices of its CEO. It'll be interesting to see what happens at the end of the day regarding the PTO's curiously expedient backtracking, as well.
It's a big relief though. I have almost 200 BB users at my outfit that would all be clamouring for an overnight solution... and unfortunately nobody does it quite as good as RIM.
Timing. As I understand it the judge approved the extortion before the patents ran out. Decision too fast or RIM too slow. RIM must have had some good reason for giving up.
And, NTP, Inc. makes or sells no actual products.
I say that if you hold a patent, but never use it to produce something productive, then that patent should be held invalid.
"produce something productive" s/b "produce something useful" :-)
Should have said "before the patents were thrown out." Sorry.
You mean having to go to court to get paid for your ideas is extortion?
I certainly hope not. NTP is nothing but a bottom-feeder who's only "business" is filing patent suits hoping to strike a big one. They create nothing. They go around buying up other patent applications, hoping to find one that is close enough to an idea that's already paid off... and they play courtroom crapshoot.
>You mean having to go to court to get paid for your ideas is extortion?
Where in the Constitution does it say Congress can pass laws to portect "ideas"?
No... going to court to get a payoff from somebody else's ideas, holding hostage millions of customers... that's extortion.
There was a risk, though I gather not a big one, that one or more of the patents that hadn't been rejected yet would have been upheld. I don't know a whole lot about patent law, but there may also be an issue because the patents were in force during several years that RIM was using the relevant technology, and perhaps the rescinding of the patents wouldn't clearly release RIM from an obligation to pay for the use during the period they were in force. Probably the biggest issue is that the prospect of never-ending litigation and uncertainty -- NTP was certainly going to appeal the rescinding of its patents -- was putting such a big financial drag on RIM, and had recently started causing customers to sign on with competitors, after which inertia and upfront costs of switching would undoubtedly cause a lot of them to stay there. It probably ending up looking like it would be cheaper in the long run to pay now, even if they had eventually won.
I do think the whole affair highlights an urgent need to update both patent law and the process of patent examination.
I don't have a problem with the concept of patent protection. It's a valuable protection and it rewards innovation.
But merely buying up thousands of applications on the cheap, hoping to find one that can be wedged somehow into convincing a neophyte court... just filing lawsuits as a business model... this isn't what patent protection is for, IMHO.
I guess extortion is a pretty good business model. I haven't seen but a handful of patents that deserved the name "patent" in years. Everyone that changes the color of a box thinks they've just invented something, and unfortunatly the USPTO agrees with that nonsense.
Some patents are obtained in order to close out competition. Not using a patent doesn't necessarily mean that there isn't something on the market that will do the job. If someone has a patent that they don't intend to use, make no similar products, and aren't attempting to license it to others then the damages for infringement should be "reasonable." I'm curious how NTP conjured up the amount of damages in this case.
Who said anything about MicroSoft? Stay on topic!
The light goes on... that makes sense.
What RIM needed most right now was some certainty. They were starting to suffer in the marketplace merely because of the uncertainty about their service continuity.
Even if all of NTP's applications are ultimately thrown out (which appears to be on the way) RIM was better off to just settle *now*, to stop the hemorraging.
They could conceivably go back to court later with an action against NTP if the bottom falls out from under their patent apps. I wonder if that's possible. In a just world NTP should pay a price if their harrassment was all just a nuisance suit from the beginning.
Sounds like RAMBUS and the DDR lawsuits of a few years ago.
Well, I'm not so much of a MS hater, at least not today. :-)
Madison and Jefferson noted the distinction between "discovery" and "ideas." You note that all the early patents were actual discoveries that were demostrated by its inventer before a patent was issued. It is not fair that someone to patent the idea of going to the moon and then suing NASA for actually spending the money to figure out how and actually doing it.
RIM . . . will record the additional $162.5 million in its fourth-quarter results, it said.
I hope they get that minor juxtoposition of digits resolved before anyone signs anything.
Patent law requires that a patent 'teach' anyone 'skilled in the art' how to do it.
%@&#* math majors.
>Patent law requires that a patent 'teach' anyone 'skilled in the art' how to do it.
Is that actually something Congress pulled from thin air or a Supreme Court imposed rule?
Not necessarily, RIM may just consider it a cost of doing business to get these folks off their backs forever.
Always fun to try to politely tell a judge that everyone in the courtroom but him sees how to do it.
From what I've read, the ideas were NOT NTP's. They'd bought the patent applications from someone else and filed them on their own behalf. It was looking like the applications were going to be denied, anyway.
MicroSoft/Bill Gates bought MSDOS, did this mean he couldn't defent his ownership of the operating system?
...DEFEND his ownership...
Gotta go, kids are waiting.
Please keep the thread warm for me...
BBC NEWS version ...
Settlement ends Blackberry case
The maker of the Blackberry device has reached a $612.5m (£349m) settlement to end a legal dispute that could have closed the service in the US.
Canadian company Research In Motion (RIM) said on Friday that the deal with American software firm NTP represented a "full and final settlement".
NTP, which had claimed RIM stole its technology, had tried to get the Blackberry service shut in the US.
The popular portable e-mail device has three million American users.
"All terms of the agreement have been finalised and the litigation against RIM has been dismissed by a court order this afternoon," said RIM.
"The agreement eliminates the need for any further court proceedings or decisions relating to damages or injunctive relief.
"NTP grants RIM an unfettered right to continue its business, including its Blackberry-related business."
The settlement brings to end four years of legal dispute in the US between the two companies.
RIM said it had already put aside $450m for a possible settlement with NTP, and that the additional $162.5m would be recorded in its next quarterly report due in April.
The overall $612.5m settlement compares to the firm's total cash reserves of $1.8bn.
Last year the firms agreed a tentative settlement, but the agreement subsequently collapsed, taking the case all the way to the US Supreme Court.
Earlier this month, the US government asked a federal judge to hold off from a possible shutdown of the Blackberry service, because of the system's popularity among key government employees.
RIM had argued that a shutdown of Blackberry services would impair critical public services.
The Blackberry now has 4.3 million global users.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/03/03 22:53:15 GMT
© BBC MMVI
I have no idea, but my son is going to be an IP lawyer, so I can ask him. ;o)
Yep... I think so. A way to get it behind them and stop scaring away new customers.
If you're right, RIM just paid over a half a billion dollars they didn't need to.
Of course he can. He bought it and used it and made a bazillion dollars.
This is unlike the case in point, where NTP did ~not~ create or invent or do anything at all, or from the look of it, even buy out someone else's idea that was worth anything. Well... worth 600M this time around.
There is that.
Great! I will now be able to CONTINUE to work 24/7/365...
Sorry, but that's simply not accurate. NTP was founded by Thomas Campana, Jr., an electrical engineer who invented the technology of push email delivery. Push, BTW, is the exact technology that made the Blackberry so successful, because it eliminated the steps of connecting to a server, logging on to that server, and retrieving any waiting email. With push, the handheld device only has to wait for the server to send the email.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a company that licenses intellectual property that it owns. Nothing. Campana didn't have the money to take his invention to market, so he elected to go the licensing route instead. IP is just as real a product as anything else. There's also nothing whatever wrong with going after someone who comes along and steals your property, then thumbs their nose at you when you ask them to either stop using it or pay up.
That's exactly what happened in this case. And BTW, both Nokia and Good Technology have properly licensed NTP technology.