Wednesday, December 21, 2005

On the ground: RIM vs NTP

RIM (Research in Motion) and NTP have been in a court battle over patent issues for a while now, over the popular Blackberry device. The case is long and has had many unexpected turns, but now it's become just ridiculous. Basically the whole case is that NTP is a company that claims to have US based patents on some e-mail functionalities that Blackberry devices use, and want RIM to shut down all Blackberry services in the US. A settlement was negociated, but seems unlikely, and the case has been in court ever since. But the ridiculous part is that now the US patent office has revoked at least one of those patents, and now there's reports that the patent office supports RIM and claims NTP's arguments have no ground.

The sad thing in this whole story is that it cost RIM a lot of money to defend itself, and more importantly, all US owners of Blackberry devices have no idea if they will be able to use their device anymore. Even the US government said they can't have their Blackberry devices shut down. All of this points to a very flawed and unequiped patent system, where people can patent ridiculous things like a buy now web page button or how about the wheel.

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