March 14, 2006 2:37 PM PST

RIM calls for patent reform in newspaper ad

Research In Motion took out a full-page advertisement in eight U.S. newspapers on Tuesday thanking those who supported the company in its dispute with NTP and also urging patent reforms.

In the letter attributed to RIM's co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, RIM said it was "pleased to put this matter behind us and remove any uncertainty from our customers' minds." The ad ran in the Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post and several other papers.

Eleven days ago RIM paid NTP $612.5 million to end the long-running dispute over whether the popular BlackBerry wireless e-mail system infringed on patents held by NTP. Prior to the settlement, Judge James Spencer appeared set to impose an injunction on the sales and support of BlackBerry devices and software in the U.S. after RIM failed to overturn a 2002 jury verdict that it infringed on NTP's patents.

"You can rest assured the BlackBerry is here to stay," RIM said in its letter to the public. However, the company clearly doesn't want to see the current U.S. patent system remain the same.

RIM settled with NTP even though--after the jury verdict and appeals process--the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had has rejected the claims in NTP's five patents at issue in the case. That USPTO decision is not final, as NTP has several routes of appeal, but even if the patents are ultimately rejected, NTP will not have to repay RIM. RIM said earlier this month it had little choice but to settle the case to prevent its customers from delaying new BlackBerry rollouts, but the company appears quite frustrated that the case evolved to this point, as shown in one passage of the letter.

"As to the lingering question of why the patent system should allow such a bizarre set of circumstances to threaten millions of American customers in the first place, we share your concern. The good news is that this topic is currently receiving much more attention from policymakers and the Supreme Court and we hope the patent system will evolve to close the loopholes and become more balanced."

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16 comments

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RIM is not remorseful: Who will they infringe on next?
RIM is obviously not remorseful, nor repentant. I hope that next time they infringe, they loose the shirts off their back.

The NTP owned patents were issued, and were registered and a Jury FOUND that NTP have infringed, what else do they want? Do they want all inventors to roll over and play dead? Do they want ideas thieves with MBAs to get rich off of inventors Intellectual Property?

Grow up you little bullies, and follow the law like the rest of us.
Posted by manaboulsi (37 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Amazing how money...
controls people's thoughts. Just imagined if you owned RIM shares
instead!
Posted by CentrOS (126 comments )
Link Flag
RIM is not remorseful: Who will they infringe on next?
Are sure are you, even in your own WORDS they did not infringe as it was NTP that in. Extortion was not the goal of the Patent system, but obviously did previal regardless of the court's findings, that is why the law needs a reform.
Posted by crome13 (1 comment )
Link Flag
In a perfect world, yes.
Your comment would make sense if the system actually worked. That is: if patent offices could make up their mind about the validity of claims in a reasonable time; if fair and non-discrimatory licenses were mandatory; if license fees and punitive damages were related to recouping R&D costs (wasn't this the original justification for creating the patent system ?); and if "inventors" weren't so conceited as to claim 20-year monopolies on trivial ideas.

The real risk now is that the ongoing patent reform will produce a system which protects large players from injunctions and excessive fines. Then the established monopolies won't have to worry too much about litigation, and the "inventors" will still manage to extort enough money from the system to keep them happy.

The only losers will be the small companies who try to design and market new products, i.e. the Intels, Microsofts and Googles of the future.
Posted by (19 comments )
Link Flag
the law
in this case the patents appear to be well on the way to be thrown in the garbage. What you have here is extortion. Besides which with the wonderful example american commercial law sets one has to wonder if the judge would have ruled the same if two american co. were involved. Its to bad you can't sue judges for being simpletons or crooks
Posted by mpotter28 (130 comments )
Link Flag
Tuff...
Don't rip people off and you won't have to pay! I would have smashed my Blackberry if you would have won. As it is now, I get to sell it and I won't be buying a new one!

Tuff Dookie RIM!
Posted by JRichards63 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
good
who wants business from people who support extortion
Posted by mpotter28 (130 comments )
Link Flag
Patents were invalid anyway
Will the NTP gaggle of lawyers give the money back when it is found that the rest of the patents are invalid anyway? Will the patent office droids who fraudulently (or was it just incompetently) issued these patents end up on the street? When hell feezes over!
Posted by gggg sssss (2285 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Robin Hood and his Merry Lawyers
$612.5m = $140 per RIM customer paid to a non inventor for his non inventions.

USA had a $224 *billion* deficit in Q4.

If your products are $140 more expensive than world competitors, how can you sell outside the USA and close that gap?

So USA needs patent reform if it wants to compete in the world and the claim that more patents will substitute for products in trade is 224 billion times false.

NTP are just highwaymen.
Posted by Nigel Johnstone (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
NTP judgement= protectionism
"If your products are $140 more expensive than world competitors, how can you sell outside the USA and close that gap?"

You missed a crucial fact: RIM is a Canadian company.

The US are levying a $140 import tax on Blackberries. But of course they won't call that protectionism, and they'll expect everybody else to open their borders to free trade.
Posted by (19 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Ideasquatting
I don't know much about these two companies... but wikipedia lists NTP as a "patent holding company". They did not bring out any products, and I am not sure that they licensed them.

Unlike NTP, RIM have actually produced product. I am sure that they did their own R&D, and I don't believe that they deliberately set out to steal NTP's ideas. Correct me if I'm wrong.

From where I am sitting, it looks like NTP are sitting on their ideas, waiting for someone to use them, claiming "I invented that!" and then tying the victim up in litigation. This looks like extortion to me.

RIM does not need to be "remorseful" - they did not pay up because they wished to to license NTP's patents - time will prove the patents invalid - so what should they be remorseful about? RIM paid up because their business is on hold until this is settled. People are not buying product while the future of the technology is in doubt. Effectively this case is holding their business to ransom.

I am disturbed that companies like NTP, Microsoft, IBM et al are frantically patenting everything they can, in the hopes that one day they can extract money one day from those who want to do something with those ideas.

That's not what the patent system is supposed to be for. Patents are intended as a means for inventors to exploit their inventions - not as a means for suit-happy corporations to do nothing but exploit others who are actually making product when they will not.
Posted by Wizard Prang (11 comments )
Reply Link Flag
NTP Patents are valid-RIM and USPTO are wrong
NTP Patents are valid because they were novel at the time. Just because something is not seen as novel today, does not mean that it was not ever novel, and it shouyld not be judged by the the standard of today.

Just because they did not produce the product does not mean that they do not deserve royalties.

Take for example a song writer. He does not write the song more then once, yet he is entitled to raylties over and over even if he did not sing it live or on a CD. NTP did the same with the patent. This is not squatting, this is vision. If wall street MBA's can do it, why not inventors?

As for producing a product. That's totally another discipline and skill, and the proper action on behalf of RIM was to partner their money raising skills and production capabilities with NTP visionary skills and work together on a product.

RIM is not remorseful, and I whole heartedly pray that all the NTPs of the world get what they deserve each time they cross the line.
Posted by manaboulsi (37 comments )
Link Flag
NTP Patents are valid-RIM and USPTO are wrong
NTP Patents are valid because they were novel at the time. Just because something is not seen as novel today, does not mean that it was not ever novel, and it shouyld not be judged by the the standard of today.

Just because NTP did not produce the product does not mean that they do not deserve royalties.

Take for example a song writer. He does not write the song more then once, yet he is entitled to raylties over and over even if he did not sing it live or on a CD. NTP did the same with the patent. This is not squatting, this is vision. If wall street MBA's can do it, why not inventors?

As for producing a product. That's totally another discipline and skill, and the proper action on behalf of RIM was to partner their money raising skills and production capabilities with NTP visionary skills and work together on a product.

RIM is not remorseful, and I whole heartedly pray that all the NTPs of the world get what they deserve each time they cross the line.
Posted by manaboulsi (37 comments )
Link Flag
AN AMERICAN RASPBERRY TO CANADAS BLACKBERRY
AN AMERICAN RASPBERRY TO CANADAS BLACKBERRY

RE: RIM AND THEIR ANTI-AMERICAN PROPAGANDA

Shame on RIM! They tried to fake us out  AND LOST! Now they are trying to fake us out and Destroy our patent system.

They cheated, lied, dissembled, faked their software demonstration in court, defamed the REAL American Inventor of their technology, spent millions propagandizing the American public with their Public Relations MISinformation machine, lobbied the American Patent Office, insulted our American courts, jury and legal system  and LOST AGAIN!

Now they are spending more Millions of dollars to propagandize our Congress and the public with whining and outrageous full page ads in many of our major American publications in an attempt TO DEFORM AND DESTROY THE AMERICAN PATENT SYSTEM. This is the same system that, for 216 years, has protected our famous American innovation from arrogant predators like RIM.

If the American patent system had not worked so well  they and other Deep Pocket Thieves -- would have been able to steal whatever they wanted and the true creative inventors in America could have done nothing to protect themselves and American Inventivity.

RIM is embarrassing their marvelous country and bringing shame to themselves

Sad that this is coming from Canada  our closest friend, neighbor and ally.

I wont use a Blueberry, Strawberry or Dingleberry, or any other Berry as my communication device and hope that other Americans will also refuse to do so. So lets give a RASPBERRY to the BLACKBERRY. RIM doesnt deserve our money, support and certainly not  our protection.

George Margolin
An American Inventor
patentor@gmail.com
Posted by invenor (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
AN AMERICAN RASPBERRY TO CANADAS BLACKBERRY
AN AMERICAN RASPBERRY TO CANADAS BLACKBERRY

RE: RIM AND THEIR ANTI-AMERICAN PROPAGANDA

Shame on RIM! They tried to fake us out  AND LOST! Now they are trying to fake us out and Destroy our patent system.

They cheated, lied, dissembled, faked their software demonstration in court, defamed the REAL American Inventor of their technology, spent millions propagandizing the American public with their Public Relations MISinformation machine, lobbied the American Patent Office, insulted our American courts, jury and legal system  and LOST AGAIN!

Now they are spending more Millions of dollars to propagandize our Congress and the public with whining and outrageous full page ads in many of our major American publications in an attempt TO DEFORM AND DESTROY THE AMERICAN PATENT SYSTEM. This is the same system that, for 216 years, has protected our famous American innovation from arrogant predators like RIM.

If the American patent system had not worked so well  they and other Deep Pocket Thieves -- would have been able to steal whatever they wanted and the true creative inventors in America could have done nothing to protect themselves and American Inventivity.

RIM is embarrassing their marvelous country and bringing shame to themselves

Sad that this is coming from Canada  our closest friend, neighbor and ally.

I wont use a Blueberry, Strawberry or Dingleberry, or any other Berry as my communication device and hope that other Americans will also refuse to do so. So lets give a RASPBERRY to the BLACKBERRY. RIM doesnt deserve our money, support and certainly not  our protection.

George Margolin
An American Inventor
patentor@gmail.com
Posted by invenor (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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