February 24, 2006 4:27 PM PST
Judge faces 'reality' in BlackBerry case
Almost two and a half years since he entered his judgment against RIM, Spencer found the two parties before his bench once again arguing over the merits of an injunction on the U.S. sale and support of BlackBerry devices. No immediate decision was entered on Friday, but the following court transcript of the judge's remarks provided by representatives for NTP gives an insight into Spencer's thinking on this pivotal patent infringement case:
The hallmark of sanity is that one remains firmly tethered to reality.
And one unfortunate reality for RIM, and one that they would just as soon forget or ignore, is that in this very courtroom there was a trial, a jury was selected, a trial was carried out for a period of weeks, and evidence was received, and the jury heard arguments from some of the best legal talents that money can buy. And when all was said and done, they decided that RIM had infringed NTP's patent, and that the infringement was willful.
The jury consisted of 12 men and women, tried and true citizens of this district, and I can assure you that the citizens of this judicial district and the Commonwealth of Virginia are not foolish or frivolous when it comes to the matter of fixing legal liability. After all of the appeals, the petitions, the politics, the lobbying, this central truth, this reality of the jury verdict has not changed in any essential or substantive way.
So here we are on remand with very clear direction from the federal circuit...two legal issues to be resolved, damages in light of the Federal Circuit's opinion, and whether or not injunctive relief is appropriate; and a sub-issue is what is the appropriate scope of such injunctive relief. And I think at least every lawyer sitting in here today understands the rules and standards that must be applied by the court to come to a legal conclusion regarding these legal issues. And I have been doing this for almost 20 years, and my approach will be no different in this case than any other cases I have had to similarly resolve.
I must say I am surprised, absolutely surprised, that you have left this incredibly important and significant decision to the court. I've always thought that this, in the end, was really a business decision. And yet you have left the decision in the legal arena, and that's what you're going to get, a legal decision.
I can discern from reading the pleadings and preparing for this hearing that a legal decision, a court imposed solution, will be imperfect. The legal squabbling will continue, RIM's business will continue, in plain words the case should have been settled. But it hasn't. So I have to deal with that reality.
I must admit I was somewhat surprised at RIM's argument, which seems to me to be inconsistent on the one hand, that if the court was to impose an injunction, that it would have a catastrophic effect and the very foundation of western civilization would be shaken by wireless e-mail or the absence of it.
And then, on the other hand, from some of the stuff that I've read, it's a minor convenience they have got a workaround. Nobody will even know that a stone was cast into the sea. I'm going to take the matter under advisement, and I will issue a decision as soon as reasonably possible. I'm thinking that probably the damages order may come out quicker than the decision on injunction. That requires a little bit more thought. And if, I say if because I have not decided, if an injunction is ordered by the court, I want to make very sure that these exclusions and exemptions are appropriate. That the government and its needs are met.
And so I thank you all for your time and attention this morning. We will be in adjournment.
(Proceedings adjourned at 12:33 p.m.)
CERTIFICATE OF REPORTER
I, Jeffrey B. Kull, CP, RPR, certify that the foregoing is a correct transcript from the record of proceedings in the above-entitled matter.