February 23, 2006 4:00 AM PST

Bye-bye, BlackBerry?

A federal court hearing scheduled for Friday that could lead to the shutdown of BlackBerry devices throughout the United States is forcing longtime BlackBerry users to think about life without their mobile gadgets.

On Capitol Hill, where "CrackBerry" addiction is rampant, some thumb-typists are even expressing their anxiety in poetry. "'Freedom!' will the joyful say, Released from slavery today! Yet others'll suffer horrid angst if their little screens go blank," Larry Neal, deputy staff director for communications at the U.S. House of Representatives' Energy and Commerce Committee, wrote in an 18-line poem.

BlackBerry

Tongue-in-cheek poetry aside, to millions of BlackBerry users, there's nothing funny about Friday's court hearing, which could draw to an end one aspect of the long-running patent spat between Ontario-based Research In Motion and Virginia-based patent-holding firm NTP.

At the hearing in U.S. District Judge James Spencer's Richmond, Va., courtroom, lawyers for NTP, RIM and the federal government will argue over whether to won a jury verdict that found that BlackBerry devices and software infringed on patents held by the late Thomas Campana, co-founder of the holding company. An injunction later arrived with that victory, but it was stayed and the damages were put in escrow pending the appeals process, which ended at the Supreme Court's door earlier this year. Given that the fundamental question of infringement has withstood the appeals process, NTP will ask for another injunction during Friday's hearing.

related story
NTP slams RIM
On eve of hearing, NTP issues
statement blasting its opponent.

"I'm shocked that RIM hasn't settled," said Gary Abelev, a patent attorney with the New York law firm Dorsey & Whitney. The company had the opportunity to settle the case for $450 million last year, but that deal fell through. An injunction would prevent the sale of RIM's primary source of revenue in its largest market, effectively crippling the company.

RIM's answer to a possible injunction is a so-called workaround. The company earlier this month revealed sketchy details of the software-based workaround it says will be made available for download if an injunction occurs.

NTP is likely to argue that the workaround violates the same claims in the patents, and numerous hearings will probably follow, Abelev said. If the workaround is declared invalid, RIM is back to square one with nothing to show for millions in legal fees, he said.

RIM's other hope is that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office strikes down all of NTP's patents. The BlackBerry received a boost Wednesday when the USPTO issued a final rejection of one of the five patents in question, but NTP can appeal that decision through several more avenues, extending the case even further.

Watching and waiting
On Capitol Hill, all 100 senators, 435 House members and myriad staffers tote BlackBerrys. "It might be a nice change," said one Senate aide, who asked to remain anonymous. "Instead of looking at my BlackBerry the first thing in the morning, I might actually be able to take a shower without work on my mind."

Lawyers at the Los Angeles law firm Allen & Matkins are less amused at the prospect of losing their BlackBerrys. The firm's chief technology officer, Frank Gillman, is counting on RIM's workaround to keep his legal team in contact with clients, he said in an e-mail interview.

CONTINUED: Reprieve for government users?…
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57 comments

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Blackberry shutdown unlikely
Blackberry shutdown is unlikely because RIM uses methods used in mobile phones to deliver emails. If RIM goes down there will be others along the way.

Nir Ben-Dor

I write for Linkadelic Magazine. You can too
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.comagz.com/webmagazine/" target="_newWindow">http://www.comagz.com/webmagazine/</a>
Posted by nbdr (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Blackberry shutdown unlikely
Blackberry shutdown is unlikely because RIM uses methods used in mobile phones to deliver emails. If RIM goes down there will be others along the way.

Nir Ben-Dor

I write for Linkadelic Magazine. You can too
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.comagz.com/webmagazine/" target="_newWindow">http://www.comagz.com/webmagazine/</a>
Posted by nbdr (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I bet this guy is a Democrat
&gt;&gt;"It might be a nice change," said one Senate aide, who asked to remain anonymous. "Instead of looking at my BlackBerry the first thing in the morning, I might actually be able to take a shower without work on my mind."&lt;&lt;

He needs the judge/government to take Blackberrys away from everyone to save him from himself - more dictatorship of the judiciary.

How about some discipline? Just don't look at your Blackberry in the morning! Problem solved!
Posted by fafafooey (171 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sounds like a Republican to me.
:)
Posted by System Tyrant (1453 comments )
Link Flag
I bet this guy is a Democrat
&gt;&gt;"It might be a nice change," said one Senate aide, who asked to remain anonymous. "Instead of looking at my BlackBerry the first thing in the morning, I might actually be able to take a shower without work on my mind."&lt;&lt;

He needs the judge/government to take Blackberrys away from everyone to save him from himself - more dictatorship of the judiciary.

How about some discipline? Just don't look at your Blackberry in the morning! Problem solved!
Posted by fafafooey (171 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sounds like a Republican to me.
:)
Posted by System Tyrant (1453 comments )
Link Flag
Patents invalid
US Patent and Trademark office has issued preliminary invalidations in ALL 5 patents involved in the lawsuit. Just this week (Tuesday?) they issued the first FINAL rejection of patents in this case. Did you do any research on this article?
Posted by Dolphineus (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What you say is true, but
Due to the legal system available to patent holders, i.e. the right to appeal any decision, even if those decisions to invalidate all of NTPs patents are upheld the legal battle could take years to play out.

Until that has happened, and even though common sense would seem to say that the judge in this matter should deny any form of injunction until the matter has been resolved, officially those patents are valid and he could still shut down RIMs network.

So while it seems obvious to you what the outcome should be, when does common sense ever prevail in a courtroom, especially when patents are involved.

The reality is that all a patent is, is someone saying "I thought of that before you did, and even though I had no clue how to implement the idea, you should still pay me money for using it."

Copyright is the protection of an actual product, which is why software patents don't exist in Europe, yet.

Patents for me are complete fraud, all of them should be struck down, no one should have any legal protection for merely thinking up something without at least having a valid, and independently assessed working design for implementing the idea.

The only exception in this case should be for the Crackberry - which is ofcourse the bane of all existance, the Devil incarnate in cell phone form, the evil from which all bloggers are spawned.

Death to the Crackberry. Long live the Treo.
Posted by ajbright (447 comments )
Link Flag
Patents invalid
US Patent and Trademark office has issued preliminary invalidations in ALL 5 patents involved in the lawsuit. Just this week (Tuesday?) they issued the first FINAL rejection of patents in this case. Did you do any research on this article?
Posted by Dolphineus (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What you say is true, but
Due to the legal system available to patent holders, i.e. the right to appeal any decision, even if those decisions to invalidate all of NTPs patents are upheld the legal battle could take years to play out.

Until that has happened, and even though common sense would seem to say that the judge in this matter should deny any form of injunction until the matter has been resolved, officially those patents are valid and he could still shut down RIMs network.

So while it seems obvious to you what the outcome should be, when does common sense ever prevail in a courtroom, especially when patents are involved.

The reality is that all a patent is, is someone saying "I thought of that before you did, and even though I had no clue how to implement the idea, you should still pay me money for using it."

Copyright is the protection of an actual product, which is why software patents don't exist in Europe, yet.

Patents for me are complete fraud, all of them should be struck down, no one should have any legal protection for merely thinking up something without at least having a valid, and independently assessed working design for implementing the idea.

The only exception in this case should be for the Crackberry - which is ofcourse the bane of all existance, the Devil incarnate in cell phone form, the evil from which all bloggers are spawned.

Death to the Crackberry. Long live the Treo.
Posted by ajbright (447 comments )
Link Flag
Blackberry
Who is NTP anyway? All I've ever heard is they're some scam outfit that buys up obscure patents so they can sure comapnies for infringement. Apparently this Stout dude is a patent lawyer (surpise!!) <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.antonelli.com/part_stout.html" target="_newWindow">http://www.antonelli.com/part_stout.html</a>. Another case of lawyers mis-using their privileges as court officers for their own gain
Posted by ebrpd18 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
NTP didn't buy anything
NTP was a company formed to protect the patents of an inventor(who's name i'm too lazy to lookup). Technically its not even a company but more of an enity. Altough I disagree wiht NTP's stance on the issue... and herre's something that bothers me.. ALL 5 patents in the case have been denied!!!what else am i missing here...how can there be a lawsuit without a premise(other then the USA is the land of the lawsuit)...and why does this judge seem like an inbred dufus, his decisions make no sense to anyone whose more than 2 articles aboout the case
Posted by epiccollision (105 comments )
Link Flag
Blackberry
Who is NTP anyway? All I've ever heard is they're some scam outfit that buys up obscure patents so they can sure comapnies for infringement. Apparently this Stout dude is a patent lawyer (surpise!!) <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.antonelli.com/part_stout.html" target="_newWindow">http://www.antonelli.com/part_stout.html</a>. Another case of lawyers mis-using their privileges as court officers for their own gain
Posted by ebrpd18 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
NTP didn't buy anything
NTP was a company formed to protect the patents of an inventor(who's name i'm too lazy to lookup). Technically its not even a company but more of an enity. Altough I disagree wiht NTP's stance on the issue... and herre's something that bothers me.. ALL 5 patents in the case have been denied!!!what else am i missing here...how can there be a lawsuit without a premise(other then the USA is the land of the lawsuit)...and why does this judge seem like an inbred dufus, his decisions make no sense to anyone whose more than 2 articles aboout the case
Posted by epiccollision (105 comments )
Link Flag
Pantent the pantenting!
Let's file a patent on "patenting all kind of random stuff, sitting on patent for years and sueing anyone, who dares to implement any of our patented stuff"!

It is sad, when the work of technical people with ideas, vision and skills to develope something useful is smashed by these patent-jerks.
Posted by throbi (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
prior art
Sorry, but that patent will be denied because of prior art.
Posted by madjo (19 comments )
Link Flag
Pantent the pantenting!
Let's file a patent on "patenting all kind of random stuff, sitting on patent for years and sueing anyone, who dares to implement any of our patented stuff"!

It is sad, when the work of technical people with ideas, vision and skills to develope something useful is smashed by these patent-jerks.
Posted by throbi (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
prior art
Sorry, but that patent will be denied because of prior art.
Posted by madjo (19 comments )
Link Flag
RIM could just call it quits
How many other "best of breed" companies during the Information Technology era have just said "to hell with it", turned off the lights, closed up shop, locked the doors and gone home? I'm sure all RIM employees and executives could land someplace else, leaving NTP to figure out how to fend off lawsuits (or a big yellow truck parked in front of the building) from users who see NTP as the idiots that killed the Blackberry.
Posted by Too Old For IT (351 comments )
Reply Link Flag
do you have any idea how much RIM is worth?
and most of you comment was reactionary nonsense anyway
Posted by epiccollision (105 comments )
Link Flag
RIM could just call it quits
How many other "best of breed" companies during the Information Technology era have just said "to hell with it", turned off the lights, closed up shop, locked the doors and gone home? I'm sure all RIM employees and executives could land someplace else, leaving NTP to figure out how to fend off lawsuits (or a big yellow truck parked in front of the building) from users who see NTP as the idiots that killed the Blackberry.
Posted by Too Old For IT (351 comments )
Reply Link Flag
do you have any idea how much RIM is worth?
and most of you comment was reactionary nonsense anyway
Posted by epiccollision (105 comments )
Link Flag
Feds Should Not Be Exempt from Shutdown
This is a case where ALL should be disconnected - especially the Federal Government and Congress.

Exempting them would set a bad precedent.

If Congress looses access maybe then they would actually see that people are harmed in these cases and go and get some work done to fix the broken patent system and the excessive damage awards being given out all the time.

If they do not also feel the "pain" they will do nothing to prevent this from occuring again in the future.

They can get their e-mails again in 2012 when the patent runs out - it will take them that long to fix the problem anyway.

Tom Philo
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://taphilo.blogspot.com" target="_newWindow">http://taphilo.blogspot.com</a>
Posted by taphilo-2003685639374287843630 (130 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Right On!
Many of our problems exist because those with the power to fix them arrange to avoid them. Such is the case with the Fed's exempting themselves from this shutdown. It's also the case with other things, such as public education, where those with power to fix it avoid it. And it was the case in voting to send other people's kids to die in a misguided war in Iraq.

mark d.
Posted by markdoiron (1138 comments )
Link Flag
Feds Should Not Be Exempt from Shutdown
This is a case where ALL should be disconnected - especially the Federal Government and Congress.

Exempting them would set a bad precedent.

If Congress looses access maybe then they would actually see that people are harmed in these cases and go and get some work done to fix the broken patent system and the excessive damage awards being given out all the time.

If they do not also feel the "pain" they will do nothing to prevent this from occuring again in the future.

They can get their e-mails again in 2012 when the patent runs out - it will take them that long to fix the problem anyway.

Tom Philo
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://taphilo.blogspot.com" target="_newWindow">http://taphilo.blogspot.com</a>
Posted by taphilo-2003685639374287843630 (130 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Right On!
Many of our problems exist because those with the power to fix them arrange to avoid them. Such is the case with the Fed's exempting themselves from this shutdown. It's also the case with other things, such as public education, where those with power to fix it avoid it. And it was the case in voting to send other people's kids to die in a misguided war in Iraq.

mark d.
Posted by markdoiron (1138 comments )
Link Flag
Patents are obsolete...
...just try to enforce a patent or copyright in the Information Age. Name one thing that hasn't been reverse engineered, hacked, copied, etc. Somebody will figure out a workaround.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0738201448/sr=8-1/qid=1140722088/ref=pd_bbs_1/102-5346398-0936950?%5Fencoding=UTF8" target="_newWindow">http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0738201448/sr=8-1/qid=1140722088/ref=pd_bbs_1/102-5346398-0936950?%5Fencoding=UTF8</a>
Posted by lewissalem (167 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Most of IT always belonged in ...
... the realm of copyright anyway.

However, I shudder to think what the combined force of "the data wants to be free" crowd together with patent trolls would do to the legitimate copyrights of print authors.
Posted by Too Old For IT (351 comments )
Link Flag
Patents are obsolete...
...just try to enforce a patent or copyright in the Information Age. Name one thing that hasn't been reverse engineered, hacked, copied, etc. Somebody will figure out a workaround.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0738201448/sr=8-1/qid=1140722088/ref=pd_bbs_1/102-5346398-0936950?%5Fencoding=UTF8" target="_newWindow">http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0738201448/sr=8-1/qid=1140722088/ref=pd_bbs_1/102-5346398-0936950?%5Fencoding=UTF8</a>
Posted by lewissalem (167 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Most of IT always belonged in ...
... the realm of copyright anyway.

However, I shudder to think what the combined force of "the data wants to be free" crowd together with patent trolls would do to the legitimate copyrights of print authors.
Posted by Too Old For IT (351 comments )
Link Flag
I PATENTED IT FIRST!!
I PATENTED THIS DEVICE FIRST WHILE AT PENN STATE!! I invented the Blackberry in 1986 then Patented, and Trademarked what I called then the "DHONE" (short for data-phone) while at Penn State getting two degrees in electrical and computer engineering. I worked with Radio telephones (they were in briefcases then in the late 1970's) modems and handheld computer design way before all those idiots at NTP stole my ideas. I only filed patent pendings though. I gave speaches at Angel Investor meetings trying to get funding also for the same device 20 years ago way before the internet.
Posted by Quickshiper (18 comments )
Reply Link Flag
They need to pay me!
The concept of sending messages was invented by my great great great granfather who was the first to use pigeons to send messages. Now his idea has been stolen by all email providers.

I will be seeking compensation as a direct decendant, but you can pay me now if you use or have used email. This will ensure that you avoid costly court costs on top what you all owe me.
Posted by t8 (3716 comments )
Link Flag
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&lt;a href="http://www.hothotshoes.com"&gt;Cheap Jordan shoes &lt;/a&gt;
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&lt;a href="http://www.shoppingnikesb.com"&gt;nike dunk sb&lt;/a&gt;
Posted by shoppingtiffany (1 comment )
Link Flag
I PATENTED IT FIRST!!
I PATENTED THIS DEVICE FIRST WHILE AT PENN STATE!! I invented the Blackberry in 1986 then Patented, and Trademarked what I called then the "DHONE" (short for data-phone) while at Penn State getting two degrees in electrical and computer engineering. I worked with Radio telephones (they were in briefcases then in the late 1970's) modems and handheld computer design way before all those idiots at NTP stole my ideas. I only filed patent pendings though. I gave speaches at Angel Investor meetings trying to get funding also for the same device 20 years ago way before the internet.
Posted by Quickshiper (18 comments )
Reply Link Flag
They need to pay me!
The concept of sending messages was invented by my great great great granfather who was the first to use pigeons to send messages. Now his idea has been stolen by all email providers.

I will be seeking compensation as a direct decendant, but you can pay me now if you use or have used email. This will ensure that you avoid costly court costs on top what you all owe me.
Posted by t8 (3716 comments )
Link Flag
Disaster Recovery, Incident response and security
If the blackberrys go away, wonder how many DR plans and incident response plans will have to be changed, how many new models will have to be put in place to replace the technology. How many of us are dependent on this form of communications and will have to buy an ulternative, we all know what happens to our cell phones in a disaster. For someone who does not want to worry about the security risks of using a Windows type device, not many alternatives...
Posted by blobree (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Disaster Recovery, Incident response and security
If the blackberrys go away, wonder how many DR plans and incident response plans will have to be changed, how many new models will have to be put in place to replace the technology. How many of us are dependent on this form of communications and will have to buy an ulternative, we all know what happens to our cell phones in a disaster. For someone who does not want to worry about the security risks of using a Windows type device, not many alternatives...
Posted by blobree (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I want to patent the consumption of pizza...
...for the years 2007-2010. There is no prior art of course. I will make details of royalty payments available soon.
Posted by t8 (3716 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I want to patent the consumption of pizza...
...for the years 2007-2010. There is no prior art of course. I will make details of royalty payments available soon.
Posted by t8 (3716 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Who care's??
Blackberry and Apple are way over rated. I hope Blackberry goes bye bye.
Posted by rg7714 (42 comments )
Reply Link Flag
re: Who Cares?
Pretty much every user at the corporate level where I work, and the electronic comm. groups that manages the email servers to name a few.

Any business where these are implemented is going to get rocked by this.
Posted by Bob Brinkman (556 comments )
Link Flag
Who care's??
Blackberry and Apple are way over rated. I hope Blackberry goes bye bye.
Posted by rg7714 (42 comments )
Reply Link Flag
re: Who Cares?
Pretty much every user at the corporate level where I work, and the electronic comm. groups that manages the email servers to name a few.

Any business where these are implemented is going to get rocked by this.
Posted by Bob Brinkman (556 comments )
Link Flag
Single Source
How can any entity be it Fed or Civ go with a single source solution, setup servers, expend person hours all for something that can not be ported elsewhere or changed to a different provider?
What ever happened to following one of the top rules: Best Business Practice.
After 20 years of Pagers, Cell phones and such, I'm hoping it gets shutdown, then everyone can take a deep breath and remember a time without.

of course then again the same can apply to FAXes and overnight delivery.

I'm going to go dust my TELEX machine now. &lt;g&gt;
Posted by Mudd3d (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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