December 1, 2005 6:42 PM PST

RIM gets good news in patent case

Battered by two recent setbacks in court, Research In Motion won a round in its long-running patent fight against NTP on Thursday when the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejected one of the claims by RIM's adversary.

Patent-holding firm NTP contends that it owns the patents for the technology that powers RIM's BlackBerry handheld devices, but the Patent Office recently received information that a Norwegian firm may have filed patents prior to NTP, according to various media sources. The ruling by the Patent Office is not final and NTP will have an opportunity to file a response.

The ruling came a day after a federal judge rejected Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM's request to approve a $450 million settlement with NTP. The judge also balked when RIM requested that the case be halted until the Patent Office had re-examined the validity of NTP's patents.

At stake is RIM's right to operate in the United States. NTP has already won an injunction that would force RIM to pull the plug on its U.S.-based BlackBerry service. RIM has said that it could implement alternative methods to keep its service running, and experts expect that if RIM fails to triumph in court it would reach a settlement with NTP, albeit an expensive one.

RIM has asserted that the technology that enables BlackBerrys to forward e-mail automatically was not pilfered.

A final determination on the patents may not be reached for months.


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So ... if you are going to write a story on patent litigation you should at least understand something about patents.

"Pilfered" means stolen (or, more precisely " to steal stealthily in small amounts and often again and again"). See <a class="jive-link-external" href=";va=pilfer" target="_newWindow">;va=pilfer</a>

There is no allegation in the case that RIM "stole" the technology. In fact, you cannot "pilfer" the intellectual property in a patent because, one condition of owning a patent is that you *publish* it. Indeed, that is the whole point -- you get a time-limited legal monopoly in exchange for making the technology publically known.

Terms like this matter. Saying they "pilfered" when all they did (at most) is build something that (unknown to them) someone else has a legal monopoly on the right to make verges on slander.

Posted by clementroberts (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
nice info
Nice info, Clement.

Isn't it funny how this world of litigation has become more
massive than the industries it is promising to protect?! I agree
completely with your beliefs that they probably developed it at
the same or near the same time and one just managed to patent
it first. I would give some respect to NTP, except for on huge
problem - they don't even have products based upon the patent.
They are just like domain squatters. They have an idea with
absolutely no intention of doing anything with it except wait for
those that want to use it to capitalize. Patenting ideas should be
like trademarks - they must be actively maintained. But,
obviously, I seem to be in the minority here.
Posted by jasonemanuelson1 (82 comments )
Link Flag
I just hope
I just hope that I can still use my blackberry in the future. It's the only device I can't live without

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Posted by SqlserverCode (165 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Addicted to crack... berry
I agree with Sql. I had a Sidekick II for a few months and then switched the the Blackberry 7105t about a year later. Glam is not really my thing, but the functionality and ease of use of the Blackberry has me hooked. Now I am facing having to go back to the Sidekick? Geez.
Posted by ForeverRed (1 comment )
Link Flag
As a Blackberry user, I hope you're right...
...but I'm just going by what the judge has said. I believe that the USPTO will eventually throw out most of NTP's wireless email claims, but... will it be in time? We'll find out soon enough.

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Posted by MercilessUnicorn (31 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Unfortunately, I don't think this helps
Unfortunately, I don't think this helps a bit. The judge appears to have stated that he couldn't wait for the US PTO.

I think we're looking at a $1B settlement by RIMM and a subsuquent shareholder lawsuit for not settling earlier.

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Posted by MercilessUnicorn (31 comments )
Reply Link Flag
That's ridiculous!
They tried to settle and the judge threw it out. RIM got screwed,
plain and simple. I hope the real holders of the patent from europe
hang NTP out to dry.
Posted by rfelgueiras (189 comments )
Link Flag
go rim!
<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>
Posted by 208774626618253979477959487856 (176 comments )
Reply Link Flag

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