RIM, NTP settle BlackBerry patent war

I write disclosure documents and edit patents for a living, so I have been watching this case rather closely.

Any comments on the settlement?

[quote=“Globe and Mail”]

TORONTO , WASHINGTON

I want to know when Taiwan will get BlackBerries…

[quote=“Chewycorns”]I write disclosure documents and edit patents for a living, so I have been watching this case rather closely.
[/quote]

No kidding, I draft and prosecute patents for a living. I’ve read some of your other posts where you mention receiving stock options. I’m assuming you work in-house for a publicly traded company, right? If you ever go to the Happy Hours, let me know and I’ll try to go too. You and I seem to have a little bit in common.

[quote=“Chewycorns”]Any comments on the settlement?
[/quote]

I think NTP wanted more, but they started to realize that their patents may not hold up through reexamination, so they tried to settle as soon as they could. I’m guessing RIM settled just to get this whole lawsuit over with. RIM probably could have negotiated a lower settlement if they waited longer, but all the while they’d have to keep paying court costs.

No matter what the outcome is, the attorneys always win!

$612 million is a LOT of money. But Blackberry service in the US is a profitable business. I’m sure they did their calculations and figured, painful as the settlement may be, the business is worth more than that.

Scomargo, it’s not just attorneys who profit off of cases like this (though they do very well). It’s the patent owners who really rake in the big bucks. I think everyone in the business knows that patent laws no longer serve the function for which they were intended – to give incentive for inventors to invent – but are now an incredibly lucrative business for those corporations who aquire patents, often for the sole purpose of extracting tens or hundreds of millions of dollars of compensation from others, often while the patent owner does not invent or manufacture anything and contributes nothing of value.

That said, patent ownership is a great business to be in. I wish I owned a portfolio of essential patents for computer monitors or LCD TVs or whatever, so I could hire goons to travel round the world on my behalf, demanding 1% of the sales price per unit from various manufacturers, threatening them with painful litigation, and forcing them to pay me hundreds of millions of dollars for the property that I neither developed nor put to use. It’s a slimy business but a good one.

Another victory for the lawyers.

I’d like to learn a little more about patents as I have a few inventions with potential, do u patent legal types have get-togethers?

Wrong. The lawyers are incidental beneficiaries, but the big winner is NTP, Inc. the small patent-holding company that sued and settled the case for $612.5 million. Not bad considering they don’t manufacture anything and I don’t believe they created the patents.

Incidentally, while this suit may be settled the trouble’s apparently not over for Blackberry.

[quote]Before the settlement, RIM’s chairman, Jim Balsillie, had described the NTP case as “one of the most flagrant abuses of the patent system” he had ever seen. But it forced RIM to develop a workaround solution to keep its services running, in case NTP got an injunction.

The uncertainty prompted some companies to reconsider their reliance on BlackBerrys. . .

The legal dispute could not have come at a worse time. It coincided with a concerted push into the market by Microsoft through its Exchange Server email software and its Windows Mobile 5 devices. . .

RIM also has to contend with stiffer competition from Nokia. With a market share of over 30 per cent globally, Nokia is well placed to win substantial business. It has already announced a BlackBerry-style handset and a mobile email server, Nokia Business Centre, aimed at small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs). It also completed the acquisition last month of Intellisync, a US company that provides a similar service to RIM, but for Microsoft, Palm and other smartphones.

Companies with concerns about investing in BlackBerry have never had such a wide range of alternatives. According to Ferris Research, a San Francisco research group that specialises in messaging, 50 per cent of companies it surveyed expect to support BlackBerry next year. But by 2008, that will fall to 27 per cent. . .

RIM also faces a further challenge, and this one could prove tougher than dealing with NTP. Although the BlackBerry is justifiably popular with large businesses, RIM is struggling to gain ground among smaller companies, self-employed professionals and consumers.

Industry observers expect the low cost, operator-independent alternatives offered by Nokia and Microsoft to appeal to smaller companies, especially those that already run Microsoft’s Exchange servers. Operator-branded mobile email is likely to prove attractive to individuals . . .[/quote]

news.independent.co.uk/business/ … 349232.ece

[quote]“The patent case was a whole bunch of noise,” said Ellen Dailey, a Forrester Research analyst. “Right now, R.I.M. is in danger of relegating itself to becoming a niche e-mail player.”

David Schatsky of Jupiter Research echoed that view. “The lawsuit was an active threat to R.I.M.,” he said. “But they now have to face other, long-term challenges. Microsoft appears determined to be a serious competitor in its markets.”[/quote]
nytimes.com/2006/03/06/techn … gewanted=2

In my opinion, it was just a matter of time before Microsoft and all of the other companies jumped into this market more agressively anyway. In markets where there’s money to be made, competition will follow. RIM should still do alright, though.

And Tyc00n, no we don’t have regular get togethers that I know of. There are patent conferences in Taiwan, but I’ve never gone to one, and I don’t think many foreigners do. You probably wouldn’t want to go to those anyway.

PHASE II from the Standard Patent Troll Textbook

After suing the largest victim (RIM) and extorting a vast fortune from them, go after the next largest victim (Palm).

[quote]Patent holder NTP has sued Palm, maker of the Treo e-mail phone, for infringement eight months after winning $612.5 million from BlackBerry creator Research In Motion (RIM) on a similar claim. . .

Palm shares tumbled following the announcement.

The lawsuit may prove expensive and time-consuming for Palm management, based on the BlackBerry litigation. NTP sued RIM in 2001, claiming the BlackBerry e-mail devices infringed on NTP patents. After a trial, appeals and a failed initial settlement, the case was finally resolved in March when RIM agreed to pay NTP.

“The cost for RIM was a lot of the management’s time and energy and about half of the cash on the company’s balance sheet”. . .

NTP, whose only business is licensing patents, first contacted Palm’s then parent, 3Com, in January 2000, according to the suit. That’s around the time NTP first got in touch with RIM.[/quote]
seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/b … alm07.html

See also: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patent_troll