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.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.