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Settlement Reached in BlackBerry Dispute
AP ^ | 3.3.2006 | Peter Svensson

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.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Canada; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: blackberry; crackberry; ntp; ntpinc
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I don't know how long this will stay in breaking, but for those of us who use these addictive little things, this is major.
1 posted on 03/03/2006 2:46:01 PM PST by July 4th
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To: July 4th

many hand othopedic doctors are also cheering !!!


2 posted on 03/03/2006 2:47:26 PM PST by llevrok (The answer is often in the question.)
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To: July 4th

WOW, extortion does pay after all! NTP was on life support after their claims were unraveling.


3 posted on 03/03/2006 2:48:28 PM PST by AZRepublican ("The degree in which a measure is necessary can never be a test of the legal right to adopt it.")
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To: July 4th

To answer my own statement, apparently not long at all.


4 posted on 03/03/2006 2:52:16 PM PST by July 4th (A vacant lot cancelled out my vote for Bush.)
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To: AZRepublican

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?


5 posted on 03/03/2006 2:53:12 PM PST by Ramius (Buy blades for war fighters: freeper.the-hobbit-hole.net --> 1100 knives and counting!)
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To: July 4th

Anyone know if RIM has patents that would discourage others from competing? I doubt that the NTP "patents" would stand in the way.


6 posted on 03/03/2006 2:54:03 PM PST by FreePaul
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To: July 4th; GovernmentShrinker
My post from another thread, maybe three days ago:

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.


Glad to see it settled: Glad that RIM can get on with business, but just as glad that a "little guy" made a heck of an impression on those who would take someone else's creation as their own. Others will no doubt feel differently, but I've been where NTP is, from a perspective of principles, at least.

MM

7 posted on 03/03/2006 2:54:37 PM PST by MississippiMan (Behold now behemoth...he moves his tail like a cedar. Job 40:17)
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To: July 4th

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.


8 posted on 03/03/2006 2:55:29 PM PST by Ramius (Buy blades for war fighters: freeper.the-hobbit-hole.net --> 1100 knives and counting!)
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To: Ramius

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.


9 posted on 03/03/2006 2:56:11 PM PST by FreePaul
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To: Ramius

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.


10 posted on 03/03/2006 2:56:20 PM PST by DigitalVideoDude
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To: DigitalVideoDude

"produce something productive" s/b "produce something useful" :-)


11 posted on 03/03/2006 2:58:01 PM PST by DigitalVideoDude
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To: FreePaul; Ramius
...before the patents ran out.

Should have said "before the patents were thrown out." Sorry.

12 posted on 03/03/2006 2:59:02 PM PST by FreePaul
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To: AZRepublican
WOW, extortion does pay after all! NTP was on life support after their claims were unraveling.

You mean having to go to court to get paid for your ideas is extortion?

13 posted on 03/03/2006 2:59:33 PM PST by null and void (I nominate Sept 11th: "National Moderate Muslim Day of Tacit Approval". - Mr. Rational, paraphrased)
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To: MississippiMan
but I've been where NTP is, from a perspective of principles, at least.

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.

14 posted on 03/03/2006 2:59:40 PM PST by Ramius (Buy blades for war fighters: freeper.the-hobbit-hole.net --> 1100 knives and counting!)
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To: null and void

>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"?


15 posted on 03/03/2006 3:01:02 PM PST by AZRepublican ("The degree in which a measure is necessary can never be a test of the legal right to adopt it.")
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Comment #16 Removed by Moderator

To: null and void
You mean having to go to court to get paid for your ideas is extortion?

No... going to court to get a payoff from somebody else's ideas, holding hostage millions of customers... that's extortion.

17 posted on 03/03/2006 3:02:54 PM PST by Ramius (Buy blades for war fighters: freeper.the-hobbit-hole.net --> 1100 knives and counting!)
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To: Ramius

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.


18 posted on 03/03/2006 3:05:54 PM PST by GovernmentShrinker
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To: AZRepublican

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.


19 posted on 03/03/2006 3:07:17 PM PST by Ramius (Buy blades for war fighters: freeper.the-hobbit-hole.net --> 1100 knives and counting!)
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To: July 4th

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.


20 posted on 03/03/2006 3:07:28 PM PST by narby (Evolution is the new "third rail" in American politics)
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To: AZRepublican
Section 8

"Congress shall have the Power To:"

Paragraph 8

"To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."

A concept that was unique to the Constitution in all of previously recorded history.

The idea originated with Benjamin Franklin. In terms of affecting our society, it probably had more impact than anything else that fine gentleman ever did.

FR recently had a thread about it.
21 posted on 03/03/2006 3:08:03 PM PST by null and void (I nominate Sept 11th: "National Moderate Muslim Day of Tacit Approval". - Mr. Rational, paraphrased)
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To: DigitalVideoDude

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.


22 posted on 03/03/2006 3:08:40 PM PST by FreePaul
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To: AZRepublican
Here: Ben Franklin’s Greatest Invention
23 posted on 03/03/2006 3:10:38 PM PST by null and void (I nominate Sept 11th: "National Moderate Muslim Day of Tacit Approval". - Mr. Rational, paraphrased)
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To: Ramius
No... going to court to get a payoff from somebody else's ideas, holding hostage millions of customers... that's extortion.

Who said anything about MicroSoft? Stay on topic!

;^P

24 posted on 03/03/2006 3:12:21 PM PST by null and void (I nominate Sept 11th: "National Moderate Muslim Day of Tacit Approval". - Mr. Rational, paraphrased)
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To: GovernmentShrinker

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.


25 posted on 03/03/2006 3:13:41 PM PST by Ramius (Buy blades for war fighters: freeper.the-hobbit-hole.net --> 1100 knives and counting!)
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To: DigitalVideoDude

Sounds like RAMBUS and the DDR lawsuits of a few years ago.


26 posted on 03/03/2006 3:14:55 PM PST by dhs12345
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To: Ramius
Agreed. They create nothing and stifle innovation.
27 posted on 03/03/2006 3:17:53 PM PST by dhs12345
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To: null and void

Heh.

Well, I'm not so much of a MS hater, at least not today. :-)


28 posted on 03/03/2006 3:18:09 PM PST by Ramius (Buy blades for war fighters: freeper.the-hobbit-hole.net --> 1100 knives and counting!)
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To: null and void

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.


29 posted on 03/03/2006 3:18:22 PM PST by AZRepublican ("The degree in which a measure is necessary can never be a test of the legal right to adopt it.")
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To: July 4th
RIM has paid NTP $612.5 million in a "full and final settlement of all claims,"

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.

30 posted on 03/03/2006 3:18:48 PM PST by Larry Lucido
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To: AZRepublican

Patent law requires that a patent 'teach' anyone 'skilled in the art' how to do it.


31 posted on 03/03/2006 3:20:54 PM PST by null and void (I nominate Sept 11th: "National Moderate Muslim Day of Tacit Approval". - Mr. Rational, paraphrased)
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To: Larry Lucido

612.5-450=162.5


32 posted on 03/03/2006 3:22:42 PM PST by null and void (I nominate Sept 11th: "National Moderate Muslim Day of Tacit Approval". - Mr. Rational, paraphrased)
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To: null and void

%@&#* math majors.

(Thanks).


33 posted on 03/03/2006 3:25:25 PM PST by Larry Lucido
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To: Larry Lucido

Engineer, actually...


34 posted on 03/03/2006 3:28:27 PM PST by null and void (I nominate Sept 11th: "National Moderate Muslim Day of Tacit Approval". - Mr. Rational, paraphrased)
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To: null and void

>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?


35 posted on 03/03/2006 3:28:41 PM PST by AZRepublican ("The degree in which a measure is necessary can never be a test of the legal right to adopt it.")
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To: AZRepublican
Darned if I know.

The PTO test for patentability is the ideas has to be novel, useful, and 'inobvious'.

When I got mine, I was also told that case law required that to be valid the patent had to disclose all of the invention.

That would be a good question for an IP attorney. I expect one will show up on this thread.
36 posted on 03/03/2006 3:32:57 PM PST by null and void (I nominate Sept 11th: "National Moderate Muslim Day of Tacit Approval". - Mr. Rational, paraphrased)
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To: Ramius
There must be something solid, if it's worth RIM paying 600M to settle it.

Not necessarily, RIM may just consider it a cost of doing business to get these folks off their backs forever.

37 posted on 03/03/2006 3:36:30 PM PST by SuziQ
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To: null and void
...'teach' anyone 'skilled in the art'...

Always fun to try to politely tell a judge that everyone in the courtroom but him sees how to do it.

38 posted on 03/03/2006 3:37:25 PM PST by FreePaul
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To: null and void
You mean having to go to court to get paid for your ideas is extortion?

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.

39 posted on 03/03/2006 3:38:22 PM PST by SuziQ
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To: FreePaul
Are you trying to show your contempt of Court???

No, your Honor, to conceal it...
40 posted on 03/03/2006 3:41:54 PM PST by null and void (I nominate Sept 11th: "National Moderate Muslim Day of Tacit Approval". - Mr. Rational, paraphrased)
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To: SuziQ

MicroSoft/Bill Gates bought MSDOS, did this mean he couldn't defent his ownership of the operating system?


41 posted on 03/03/2006 3:43:06 PM PST by null and void (I nominate Sept 11th: "National Moderate Muslim Day of Tacit Approval". - Mr. Rational, paraphrased)
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To: null and void; yall

...DEFEND his ownership...

Gotta go, kids are waiting.

Please keep the thread warm for me...


42 posted on 03/03/2006 3:44:20 PM PST by null and void (I nominate Sept 11th: "National Moderate Muslim Day of Tacit Approval". - Mr. Rational, paraphrased)
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To: July 4th

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.

'Unfettered right'

"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.

Global popularity

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:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/business/4773006.stm

Published: 2006/03/03 22:53:15 GMT

© BBC MMVI


43 posted on 03/03/2006 3:56:43 PM PST by aculeus
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To: null and void

I have no idea, but my son is going to be an IP lawyer, so I can ask him. ;o)


44 posted on 03/03/2006 4:02:58 PM PST by SuziQ
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To: SuziQ
RIM may just consider it a cost of doing business

Yep... I think so. A way to get it behind them and stop scaring away new customers.

45 posted on 03/03/2006 4:07:44 PM PST by Ramius (Buy blades for war fighters: freeper.the-hobbit-hole.net --> 1100 knives and counting!)
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To: AZRepublican
NTP was on life support after their claims were unraveling.

If you're right, RIM just paid over a half a billion dollars they didn't need to.

46 posted on 03/03/2006 4:10:39 PM PST by Doe Eyes
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To: null and void
Gates bought MSDOS

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.

47 posted on 03/03/2006 4:15:16 PM PST by Ramius (Buy blades for war fighters: freeper.the-hobbit-hole.net --> 1100 knives and counting!)
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To: Ramius
Well... worth 600M this time around.

There is that.

48 posted on 03/03/2006 4:26:49 PM PST by SuziQ
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To: July 4th

Great! I will now be able to CONTINUE to work 24/7/365...


49 posted on 03/03/2006 4:28:50 PM PST by Pharmboy (The stone age didn't end because they ran out of stones.)
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To: Ramius
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.

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.

MM

50 posted on 03/03/2006 4:32:09 PM PST by MississippiMan (Behold now behemoth...he moves his tail like a cedar. Job 40:17)
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