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RIM Wins Ground in Patent War

CowboyNeal posted more than 8 years ago | from the fire-in-the-hole dept.

98

ttyp0 writes "The maker of the BlackBerry on Wednesday gained some ground as it fights a battle over patents with NTP, which is trying to shut down most sales and service of the portable e-mail device in the United States. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a final rejection of one of five disputed patents owned by NTP, another step in a long process that Research In Motion Ltd. hopes will allow it to keep operating its U.S. BlackBerry service. NTP, a closely held patent holding company, has successfully sued RIM for infringement of its patents. I've been following the case closely as our company is about to invest in BES, a costly venture indeed."

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98 comments

Didn't Bill... (0, Offtopic)

Eightyford (893696) | more than 8 years ago | (#14789119)

Didn't Bill Clinton have a job there?

Re:Didn't Bill... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14789189)

Nope, but your mom did. I hear that she really liked her job and the joy she was giving to others that she worked with.

Re:Didn't Bill... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14789241)

Call me crazy, but I'm pretty sure it was Bush, Dick and Colon working there.

Why... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14790367)

Yes, yes he did. It was right next to FuckAmericaInTheAss Inc., where Mr. George W. Bush worked.

From what I've read of the legal battle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14789123)

...it's a shame that the lawyers win no matter what.

Re:From what I've read of the legal battle (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14789139)

That is often why we see battles like this. Since both sides win. The lawyers arent stupid.

Re:From what I've read of the legal battle (2, Funny)

ficken (807392) | more than 8 years ago | (#14789238)

<sarcasm>

Any time lawyers make money, it must be good for the economy. i.e.: Class action lawsuits, patent infringements, antitrust cases, etc....

</sarcasm>

Re:From what I've read of the legal battle (4, Insightful)

vertinox (846076) | more than 8 years ago | (#14789366)

Any time lawyers make money, it must be good for the economy. i.e.: Class action lawsuits, patent infringements, antitrust cases, etc....

Its not like the lawyers are hording the money.

I mean, think of all those poor hookers that would be out of a job if we didn't have all that litigation money going into the lawyer's pockets. ;)

BES cost (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14789133)

"I've been following the case closely as our company is about to invest in BES, a costly venture indeed."

Yes, purchasing BES is expensive. But you can get some good deals, like my company did, where you buy 10 Blackberries and get a copy of BES for free.

Re:BES cost (5, Interesting)

azcoffeehabit (533327) | more than 8 years ago | (#14789175)

Another option is to use the Exchange mobile services and run your own messaging servers that way, nice thing is that it ties directly into your corporate messaging and keeps your emails on your servers. This option also gives you a wider range of devices that you can use (and probably even your existing cell phones if they were made anytime in the last 2 years).

Now if someone knows about a Linux solution it would make the setup even sweeter. :)

Re:BES cost (1)

HerculesMO (693085) | more than 8 years ago | (#14789292)

But this is not a 'push' solution as BES and Goodlink offer.

That being said, Goodlink is a far better solution than BES for Exchange 'push' email.

Re:BES cost (2, Insightful)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 8 years ago | (#14789499)

You sound like a marketdroid.

Like a friend of mine said recently on this subject, "I don't care about pushing or pulling as long as it gets me where I am going".

There is useably no difference between a phone that polls every 2-3 minutes and a blackberry. If a message is make-or-break-must-read and two minutes is too long, it probbaly shouldn't have been in an email in the first place.

Re:BES cost (2, Interesting)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | more than 8 years ago | (#14789595)

The difference between push and polling is battery use on the handheld. Push increases battery life, which is always welcome.

Re:BES cost (1)

John Straffin (902430) | more than 8 years ago | (#14789991)

Not if your Crackberry gets email as often as mine does (even with plenty of filters in place). Only getting buzzed every five minutes (on an IMAP check) instead of every two (with the current push model) would be a relaxing change, not to mention much better on the batteries...

Er, huh? (1)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 8 years ago | (#14791750)

Care to back that up with a link?

If you have a Blackberry, your phone's radio is constantly on and connected to the server. Otherwise the push functionality would not work.

With a polling phone, the radio only has to power up every poll interval to make a connection.

Since the radio is the main battery draw of any phone, not the CPU, I would hardly think a blackberry would be easier on batteries than a polling phone.

Re:Er, huh? (1)

JohnQPublic (158027) | more than 8 years ago | (#14791782)

Since the radio is the main battery draw of any phone

No, the transmitter is the main battery draw of any phone, or any portable radio system for that matter. Push saves battery life because the handheld device doesn't have to fire up the transmitter to find out there's nothing to do.

Re:Er, huh? (2, Informative)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 8 years ago | (#14792046)

BS. The blackberry packet radio sends positive connectivity messages off to the towers. This is how the protocol ensures delivery of the data.

Why do you think, the tower just beams out the email and hopes the device is connected?

Re:BES cost (1)

azcoffeehabit (533327) | more than 8 years ago | (#14790599)

You sound like a marketdroid.

This discussion is about the mobile messaging market isn't it?

Some people do not know that there are alternatives. Even if the alternative is Microsoft it is still an alternative.

If a company is already using said MS product than it quite possibly makes sense that they use a feature of that product instead of spending the extra money on new devices AND a service charge?

Now with an open source project thrown into the mix that meets the same need there isn't much need to go and spend the extra money with MS or BB now is there?

So tell me why my statements make me sound like a "marketdroid"?

And then lets hear what you would suggest to a company looking to deploy a mobile messaging solution.

Re:BES cost (1)

Wolfier (94144) | more than 8 years ago | (#14790076)

> This option also gives you a wider range of devices that you can use

For some reason I suspect this wider range of devices all run an OS from a single company, which will remain unnamed.

Re:BES cost (1)

sych (526355) | more than 8 years ago | (#14790168)

I believe that Palm's current version of VersaMail on PalmOS 5.x supports Exchange.

Re:BES cost (1)

alabamatoy (674904) | more than 8 years ago | (#14791943)

AFAIK, the BES is the only solution which is FIPS 140-2 compliant, ie commo between the device and the server inside your enclave is strongly encrypted. Am I wrong?

Where's the beef? (5, Interesting)

thunderlizard (947581) | more than 8 years ago | (#14789176)

There isn't much news to this story -- and the submitter quoted close to half of the article in their summary...

This really isn't great news for the Blackberry, because RIM has already lost the original suit from NTP -- and as the article states, it could take *years* for the validity of the remaining 4 patents to be finalized... NTP could drag this process out in court for quite some time, all the while putting pressure on RIM or possibly finding a judge that will grant some type of injunction.

Sometimes it doesn't matter if you're right; it matters more if you're around for the long haul. After all, what's the use of being an excellent boxer if you can't last past 3 rounds?

NTP has the edge here...

Re:Where's the beef? (1)

mikerozh (710568) | more than 8 years ago | (#14789672)

I think they can request a bond to be put aside for a case when all other 4 patents fail. If this is the case then NTP should think about it very carefully because if they lose the other 4 patents they are ought to lose lots of money in the bond. And this is on top of the legal charges.

I really don't understand why NTP don't want to settle. I think RIM offered some money to them.

Re:Where's the beef? (1)

Rudisaurus (675580) | more than 8 years ago | (#14791062)

Looks like RIM is playing this one just about right, though:

(1) they've got a workaround which can apparently kick in at any time

(2) they've made their system and services as ubiquitous as possible

(3) influential bodies (e.g. Congress) have become reliant on their technology, and

(4) they're successfully challenging the validity of the patents in a legal forum

Especially given (2) and (3), I think they've trumped NTP.

The Justice Dept. (4, Funny)

paulthomas (685756) | more than 8 years ago | (#14789179)

A more apt classification would have been:

From the the-department-of-justice-shant-be-deprived-of-bla ckberries dept.

Re:The Justice Dept. (1)

ficken (807392) | more than 8 years ago | (#14789196)

I wish they would make a decision (over the patent case) so I can make a decision.

Re:The Justice Dept. (1)

yuriismaster (776296) | more than 8 years ago | (#14789949)

Crack the jokes alll you want, but NTP specifically exempted Government, First Responders, some Military, and Medical fields, to prevent bad publicity (OMG NTP is taking away communciations from First Repsonders who need it the most) and vested interest in the government.

I work in a government position and we run our own BES. We couldn't give a crap whether or not this case goes in favor of NTP or RIM.

...and that's just how they want it to be.

Re:The Justice Dept. (1)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 8 years ago | (#14791414)

and just how well supported and innovative do you think your service will be once the majority of their income goes down the pan? in the unlikely event the lawsuits go against RIM, their future may well be rocky...

Too bad! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14789188)

I wish for RIM and all associated workarounds to cease to exist. Honestly, how many of you have Blackberries for anything other than work? I, for one, would welcome our new blood pressure lowering Blackberry-less overlords.

Re:Too bad! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14789219)

I, for one, would welcome our new blood pressure lowering Blackberry-less overlords.

If we can't kill off people with hypertension, we won't be able to retire until we're octogenarians, mister smartypants.

RIM litigated first (3, Interesting)

augustz (18082) | more than 8 years ago | (#14789210)

RIM started this whole intellectual property mess. Some of you remember them making lots of noise about protecting their IP against all the scummy folks who were using it.

Of course, as with all things software patent related, it turns out that others had also patented similar things. And whamo, their story changes.

Anyone have the details of this history? It's something that seems to have been forgotten in this story. I know RIM sued at least Handspring and Good, but I'm really curious about the threats of litigation that got NTP to go after them.

Instead of RIM threatened by bogus patents, this story could very well be company that litigated others out of the market faces own medicine.

I don't remember this well enough though, someone has got to have the history in a better format. All I remember is that RIM was running around talking about patents from way way back.

Re:RIM litigated first (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14789267)

What the hell does that have to do with the merits of the current case? This eye-for-an-eye philosophy will only further complicate the matter intellectual property as it relates to technology.

Why didn't you *simply* ask for clarification about the NTP & RIM history, rather than add noise?

Re:RIM litigated first (4, Insightful)

JohnFluxx (413620) | more than 8 years ago | (#14789425)

I don't think it's eye-for-an-eye philosophy, but more of a karma philosophy. Many of us are at least smirking that RIM that lived by the patents dies by the patents, as they say. They tried sue others for stupid IP infringements, and now they are being brought down by another company suing them for stupid IP infringements. If that's not karma, I don't know what is :)

Re:RIM litigated first (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14789713)

If that's not karma, I don't know what is :)
Karma is getting moderated +5 Insightful

:notices he's getting the evil eye:

and not doing mean stuff to people.
That is also Karma

Re:RIM litigated first (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14789826)

I'm getting a little tired of this one: RIM sued Palm because they started using a keypad RIM had developed.

It drives me crazy when someone looks at the thumbpad on a BlackBerry and proclaims that the idea is "obvious". Remember that before RIM invented that thumbpad people were sending SMS messages with a nine button numeric keypad.

Everything is "obvious" to people who look at something after the fact. What they don't understand is that a hardware revision costs many hundreds of thousands of dollars. Not chump change, not a drawing on a napkin... actually making something. It takes real money to hire mechanical engineers, draft it out, cost it out, and try to market a new way of doing something. In the end, a gamble like that provides an advantage worth having in the marketplace.

Furthermore, think of the context. At the time Palm had about 80% of the PDA market. RIM was a new entrant into the market. Up until that point they had just made pagers that received email with PDA functionality as an afterthought. What happens? After a couple of years, RIM has eaten into their market because of the wireless email capability. Palm tries to counter with various attempts at wireless connectivity, and then tries to add the keypad.

I'm not in favour of lawsuits without reason, but I have sympathy for organizations that actually *build things* trying to protect their investments.

Re:RIM litigated first (1)

waldo2020 (592242) | more than 8 years ago | (#14789860)

I'm getting tired of these RIMboi's that don't know what the eff they're talking about... hey moron! PDA,fancy caluclators and many many other devices had small keyboards long before RIM. just because you make something smaller doesn't mean it's worth a patent. Just because it costs money to manufacture (everything does!) doesn't meant it's worth a patent! RIM is not a PDA. It has some pitiful PDA functions. At best it's cellphone mode is barely usable. All it does well is email. period. Did you think that somebody would try to patent a computer with a keyboard? Any PDA or phone is a computer. Can you say "pior art" ?

Re:RIM litigated first (2, Informative)

Wolfier (94144) | more than 8 years ago | (#14790099)

Look at the actual patent before spewing out gibberish and put calculator keypads and Blackberry keypads in the same sentence.

It dictates the keys in very specific shapes, sizes, and relative arrangements - which I suspect is the result of some serious UI research.

It's not "just a miniature keyboard".

Re:RIM litigated first (1)

Moofie (22272) | more than 8 years ago | (#14789407)

You mean like when they successfully sued Handspring for having a teeny keyboard?

Yeah, RIM has been hoist by their own petard. Sucks to be them...glad I didn't buy their crappy equipment.

Re:RIM litigated first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14790263)

You see, in this case they actually possess hardware.

There are better solutions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14789228)

The best solution is something like RoadSync (http://roadsync.com/ [roadsync.com] where it does everything RIM does but on any device you want. You also don't have to pay monthly/yearly fees with a product with this.

From an engineering perspective (3, Insightful)

troll -1 (956834) | more than 8 years ago | (#14789257)

Hasn't this dispute been going on forever? The sad irony is that if you add up all the legal resources consumed by this case and divert them to pure technology you could completely reinvent and develop the entire system.

How does all this help to promote the progress of science and useful arts as set forth in Article I, secition 8 of the US Constitution and for which patents are supposed to have their purpose?

In some perverse way Blackberry's troubles may be a deserved lesson in not adopting an open standard.

Even if Blackberry wins this, they'll eventually be hit with a "hot coffee" musculoskeletal disorder [kron.com] lawsuit.

So what's the answer? More lawyers, less engineers and invertors?

From a user's perspective (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14789484)

Patents are only part of the problem. With or without a patent fiasco, RIM is still trying tie your hands with proprietary protocols. What makes this even dumber is that push email is a stupid idea to begin with. A convenient form factor, ease of use, great. But push email and proprietary protocols? People who buy that crap deserve what they get.

Re:From an engineering perspective (2, Insightful)

killjoe (766577) | more than 8 years ago | (#14789526)

"Hasn't this dispute been going on forever? The sad irony is that if you add up all the legal resources consumed by this case and divert them to pure technology you could completely reinvent and develop the entire system."

yes but then what would the lawyers do? They need to eat too you know.

Anyway it's called the US legal system. It's the biggest joke in the world. Look at how long the SCO case has been going on. Following that case taught me that the US legal system is a like a hot dog factory. You don't want to know how it works.

Re:From an engineering perspective (1)

penix1 (722987) | more than 8 years ago | (#14789864)

It takes 3 branches of Government to make the US system. All the courts do is interpret the laws that the legislative / executive make. It isn't the court's job to make laws but try to figure the intent of those that do. So don't blame our court system when it is really the legislative system that writes crappy laws. Congress has always had the ability to rid us of these types of lawsuits by simply redoind patent laws to exclude software patents. The only thing stopping them from doing that is the software maker's lobby.

B.

Re:From an engineering perspective (1)

killjoe (766577) | more than 8 years ago | (#14790925)

Except that the SCO case isn't about patents. In fact nobody really knows what it is really about because the US legal system allows a company to make non specific allegations for two or three years.

Re:From an engineering perspective (1)

dmatos (232892) | more than 8 years ago | (#14792102)

The lawyers can always eat each other, in a cannibalistic battle royale, televised live across the globe. Now THAT'S a reality show that I'd consider watching.

The prize for the final surviving lawyer would be all-you-can-eat McDonalds, so he wouldn't have to worry about eating, and we'd all know he'd be dead in a year or so anyway.

If you are looking to get a BES.... (2, Informative)

HerculesMO (693085) | more than 8 years ago | (#14789277)

And you're running MS Exchange -- Don't. Get Goodlink. It is 100 times better, works smoothly, and has a TRUE sync. And it's pretty worry-free. I have used them side by side for about 2 years now, and Goodlink just works better in spades. Administration, upgrades, deployment, etc... it's all better and simpler.

However if you are not on MS Exchange, then of course that would necessitate the RIM solution.

Re:If you are looking to get a BES.... (1)

lohphat (521572) | more than 8 years ago | (#14790879)

The world doesn't run on what's best, it runs on what it knows.

The harsh reality is that non-tech savvy employees cannot or will not adapt to non-Exchange (or Notes, et al) environment. If it's not what they know, they're less than productive and all you do is hear the quota carrying fratboys (who run the show) whine.

I've seen several robust infrastructures shut down because of user complaints of it being "different" and they can't use their favorite Outhouse add-on. It's sad, but true.

  It's only the exceptional company leadership which can support a superior solution.

Re:If you are looking to get a BES.... (1)

GodsFlaw (757868) | more than 8 years ago | (#14793190)

F goodlink, buy treo 700w's for you people. I totaly configured it in under 5 min to work directly with exchange. When I get an e-mail or appointment added to my calendar it only takes about 10 seconds to show up on my handheld. Goodlink is ok but it has no future.

Bring back the working model requirement (1)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 8 years ago | (#14789280)

I'll admit to a notion unpopular in these realms - I do think patents are good. If someone invests time, money, and ingenuity to create a new commercial product, then they should reap the benefits of that in exchange for making the invention public. Sadly, the current system does not live up to this ideal.

The rise of lawyer-dominated patent holding companies, such as NTP, suggests that the current patent system doesn't do enough to drive mass production of new inventions. These lawsuit-happy companies thrive on the 1% inspiration and attack those that invest the 99% perspiration required to commercialize new ideas.

To discourage "thought-sweatshops" that just invent without investing, I'd bring back the working model requirement for granting a patent. Forcing the inventor to spend real money to create that which was thought up would both encourage commercialization -- pushing the invention to the prototype stage -- and discourage indiscriminate legal land-grabs with blankets of frivolous patents.

If NTP had actually created a competing product to the Blackberry then I would support their challenge of RIM. If one bona fide maker of telecom devices creates something new and innovative, they should be able to patent it and protect it from imitators. That NTP only generated paper, not products, makes me less supportive of their claim.

Re:Bring back the working model requirement (1)

Yaztromo (655250) | more than 8 years ago | (#14789429)

To discourage "thought-sweatshops" that just invent without investing, I'd bring back the working model requirement for granting a patent. Forcing the inventor to spend real money to create that which was thought up would both encourage commercialization -- pushing the invention to the prototype stage -- and discourage indiscriminate legal land-grabs with blankets of frivolous patents.

I don't disagree that this is a good idea, however I don't think it would help a whole lot for some of these patents, as they can be done purely in software, using off-the-shelf hardware. As such, the cost to create a working prototype for such an invention is negligible.

One of my former employers decided to patent a few software constructs I invented. One of them can be implemented as a working model in as little as a dozen lines of code. Not much of an added barrier there.

Yaz.

Re:Bring back the working model requirement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14789562)

they can be done purely in software, using off-the-shelf hardware. As such, the cost to create a working prototype for such an invention is negligible

The cost of developing software is anything but negligible. In fact, cost of developing the software can easily exceed the cost of the hardware. Both costs are primarily about the engineering time that goes into the development. Materials are comparatively trivial in either case.

What's a $30,000 FPGA board compared to, say, eight engineers working for nine months, which takes maybe a couple of million bucks? Change it to pure software and you've saved the $30 grand, but not the million.

Re:Bring back the working model requirement (1)

Yaztromo (655250) | more than 8 years ago | (#14790475)

The cost of developing software is anything but negligible.

Yes, but you don't have to create a fully working product in order to have a "working model" for a software patent. All that you would have to do is create something simple which demonstrates the invention being patented in effect.

I've done it. Like I said, one of my previous employers decided to file patents in two countries for two "inventions" I created which working there. One of them I came up with one night at home, while watching TV. It can be demonstrated in less than 12 lines of code. Took 5 minutes to think up, and 5 minutes to implement a fully working demonstration of the invention in action. It took orders of magnitude more time and effort on the legal side to file the patent than it did to invent and implement in the first place.

(I should note here that the invention mentioned above has never, to my knowledge, even been used in a shipping product. It wasn't "invented" in conjunction with the project I was employed to work on either. It was something I came up with working on a personal project on my own time that I happened to mention to my manager during a friendly conversation. He thought it was novel enough to bring in the patent team, and they ran with it).

You don't patent "Windows". Software patents are typically relatively simple ideas that anyone in the field could have thought up if they had encountered a similar problem, which is one reason why so many people are against software patents in the first place. The actual process of "invention" for my first patent cost my employer nothing. The implementation of a working model likewise cost them nothing. And even if I had invented and implemented the working model on work time, it would have taken me about an hour.

I don't think a working model of Amazon's "one click purchasing" would take all that long to think up and create a working model either. Again, "working model" doesn't necessarily mean "put into a big, massive shipping product", and as such the costs of creating such a working model in software can be kept quite a bit lower than a hardware invention.

Yaz.

Re:Bring back the working model requirement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14795196)

I think perhaps what's missing is meaningful limitation on the patent holder's claims. I think that if something is trivial to "invent" when given a problem to solve, then if we must be able to patent it, it must be licensed at an extremely small price. e.g. mandatory licensing with a fee proportionate to cost of invention. I'm not at all sure how that might be managed, but it makes sense to me.

e.g. if I patent an invention that only took 12 lines of code and 5 minutes to "invent" then I should not be able to claim millions of dollars for infringment. Conversely if I spend 2 years and $1 billion on a new pharmaceutical product (those doctors and medical journals cost a lot pay off, right?) then I should be able to license this for a significant amount.

I also say make it illegal to hold patents without a definite plan to bring their application to market.

Working model doesn't fix patenting (1)

js_sebastian (946118) | more than 8 years ago | (#14789438)

If NTP had actually created a competing product to the Blackberry then I would support their challenge of RIM. If one bona fide maker of telecom devices creates something new and innovative, they should be able to patent it and protect it from imitators. That NTP only generated paper, not products, makes me less supportive of their claim.
A working model requirement (besides being quite hard to implement) does not fix the patenting system. I'm sure these people http://yro.slashdot.org/yro/06/02/23/0159230.shtml [slashdot.org] would not have had such huge problems showing a working model of online rich media creation... especially since they wouldn't need to show a good product, a cheap ugly web portal with a few features covering the claims would be enough. How about the amazon 1-click shopping patent? totally trivial. Blackberry? designing a good portable email gadget is hard, but implementing a proof of concept is something I could probably do on a Symbian phone with a couple days' work.

There are so many flaws in the system... and allowing software patents is the root of half of them. The other half comes from not giving the patent offices enough resources or incentives to properly screen patents for prior art, obviosity etc. All of which is much harder for software patents, so the 2 problems compound.

Re:Working model doesn't fix patenting (1)

SmartAsh (956866) | more than 8 years ago | (#14790082)

"but implementing a proof of concept is something I could probably do on a Symbian phone with a couple days' work" Really? How would you implement a network operations centre on a Symbian phone? thats connected to all the various wireless carriers that guarntees delivery of service. There is more to BlackBerry than a handheld and a mail client dumbass

Re:Bring back the working model requirement (1)

waldo2020 (592242) | more than 8 years ago | (#14789888)

um.. dickwad... do a little googling and you'll see the Campana DID have a working system with hardware and software. It just wasn't as popular as RIM's has now become. RIMs luck was to pick an otherwise underused Mobitex service and put some usable devices on it. Campana did have a system, hardware, and customers - but he didn't have Mobitex. Now it's largely irrelevant since the messaging is carried on cell networks. So when YOU come up with the next earth shattering idea, prove the concept, build hardware, you have every right to NOT sell it, while retaining the rights to the patent. Right? Otherwise why patent? Just give up your royalities and put it in the public domain? yeah right...

Moot Day - Feb 24 2006 (1)

JPyObjC Dude (772176) | more than 8 years ago | (#14789311)

> The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a final rejection of one of five disputed patents owned by NTP

Does this make Feb 24 2006 legal gatherings moot regarding RIM network shutdown?

Re:Moot Day - Feb 24 2006 (afraid not) (1)

TheReaperD (937405) | more than 8 years ago | (#14789466)

I wish but, there are still four more patents involved in the suit. That suit cannot be dismissed unless all five were to be invalidated. Though this is a likely outcome, it could take a couple more years before the patent office gets off its arse and completes the dispute process.

Re:Moot Day - Feb 24 2006 (1)

rm69990 (885744) | more than 8 years ago | (#14789491)

What about the other four patents? Only one out of five was rejected.

Re:Moot Day - Feb 24 2006 (1)

JPyObjC Dude (772176) | more than 8 years ago | (#14789761)

The reason is that this is too timely to not be a gesture from the patent board regarding their potential standing on all patents. It takes no more than common sense for the judge to take todays ruling into account.

Regardlesss, tomorrows ruling has serious implications not just for RIM but for IP patents in general. Being Canadian, I have a special place for RIM but at the same time they are getting a bit of what they delivered themselves.

Re:Moot Day - Feb 24 2006 (1)

JPyObjC Dude (772176) | more than 8 years ago | (#14789776)

Correction: It takes no more than common sense for the judge to not take todays ruling into account with.

[:..itchy.mouse.finger..:]

Re:Moot Day - Feb 24 2006 (1)

rm69990 (885744) | more than 8 years ago | (#14789893)

Actually, I'm Canadian too, and hope RIM wins this whole fiasco.

But that's besides the point. AFAIK, IANAL, blah blah blah, gestures mean nothing under the law. Under the law, there is still four valid patents which could cause an injunction against RIM.

Nope. But it's not like they'll flip an off switch (1)

WoTG (610710) | more than 8 years ago | (#14790391)

There are still 4 patents that are under review. So, tomorrow is still the big day. Even if NTP is granted an injunction, don't expect to see Blackberries go dark. There will have to be some sort of transition period, say 30 days. It'll be interesting to watch RIM race to migrate all of their US customers to the patent-safe workaround (assuming that the workaround does in fact exist).

Maybe we should hope that RIM loses... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14789316)

I mean, think about it: All those high and mighty people suddenly without their devices.

Who knows, maybe this will mean the patent system gets (at least partially) fixed.

Re:Maybe we should hope that RIM loses... (1)

Drakin030 (949484) | more than 8 years ago | (#14790470)

Not going to happen. A good chunk of the goverment uses the Blackberry device. Dont get me wrong I want to see the Blackberry go down aswell, but wuth a bunch of asshats running the nation that can change and modify whatever they want. Im sure there are plenty of things going on behind the scenes that we dont know about. The goverment will step in and prevent the loss of the blackberry. Dont F with the goverment. They have the power to do whatever they want. Unfortunitly the patent system wont change.

In other news... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14789365)

Linux is STILL for fags.

Re:In other news... (1)

RevWhite (889559) | more than 8 years ago | (#14793984)

Is it just me, or has there been a lot more blatant offtopic flaming/hooker ads/porn ads on slashdot lately?

Write your congressman (3, Informative)

GrEp (89884) | more than 8 years ago | (#14789383)

Write your congressmen and ask them to drag these patent examiners in for questioning:

William G. Trost:
  6,317,592 and 6,067,451 Electronic mail system with RF communications to mobile processors

Stephen Chin
  6,272,190 System for wireless transmission and receiving of information and method of operation thereof
  6,198,783 System for wireless serial transmission of encoded information

Re:Write your congressman (0, Troll)

back_pages (600753) | more than 8 years ago | (#14789936)

Alright, I logged in for this retardedness.

Check my post history, I consistently point out the ignorant bullshit on slashdot about patents, but you're a certifiable fucktard.

Write your congressmen and ask them to drag these patent examiners in for questioning:

And now I demonstrate that you don't know shit about what you're babbling about.

It is the policy of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that its employees, including patent examiners, will not appear as witnesses or give testimony in legal proceedings, except under the conditions specified in 37 CFR Part 104, Subpart C [uspto.gov]

You're not interesting, you're ignorant.

Slashdot is qualified to cover patent news like it's qualified to cover romance novels.

Re:Write your congressman (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14790151)

Or information about Linux, grammar, or politics for that matter.

Re:Write your congressman (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14790278)

What the fuck is your deal, bud? There is nothing there that says that a patent examiner will not have to truthfully testify under an official investigation, if called upon for that purpose. It says that they cannot give their personal opinions or act as an expert witness, and that they should be oblidged to give only the facts. A Congressional Review is certianly an official investigation.

Furthermore, their own rules state that that the employee of the patent office will have to tell the facts, even if said employee dosen't face purgery for not telling the truth, i.e. testimony before a court.

Talk about a certifiable, excitable, ignorant fucktard... You're doing the equivalent of jumping up and down, swinging your arms and flapping those big gums whilst shouting "Hey everyudddy! My mom dropped me on my head!"

Re:Write your congressman (1)

back_pages (600753) | more than 8 years ago | (#14790388)

Talk about a certifiable, excitable, ignorant fucktard... You're doing the equivalent of jumping up and down, swinging your arms and flapping those big gums whilst shouting "Hey everyudddy! My mom dropped me on my head!"

In addition to being flat wrong, you're doing precisely this, as an anonymous coward.

Just ignore back_pages (1)

typical (886006) | more than 8 years ago | (#14791162)

When people come in and start flaming people while saying things along the lines of "software patents are awesome, and you all suck" or "Microsoft kicks Linux butt", you just mark them Foe on Slashdot or killfile them on Usenet. Life is too short to get in flamewars when there are other people out there that post reasoned responses.

Generally, anyone calling you a "fucktard" in their posts is a pretty good candidate for ignoring.

Re:Write your congressman (1)

Zak3056 (69287) | more than 8 years ago | (#14792012)

And now I demonstrate that you don't know shit about what you're babbling about.

It is the policy of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that its employees, including patent examiners, will not appear as witnesses or give testimony in legal proceedings, except under the conditions specified in 37 CFR Part 104, Subpart C

You're not interesting, you're ignorant.


Okay, I'll bite on this one: exactly what does the USPTO's official policy on hows its employees must go about responding to subpoenas (as codified into the CFR) have to do with anything? The link you reference doesn't say that the examiners cannot, or are somehow immune from, giving testimony only that there is a specific procedure that has to be followed before they can. It's also questionable if the policy would apply to a congressional subpoena, because it wouldn't be a legal proceeding.

More to the point, exactly why did you feel the need to flame the guy who posted the original comment? Suggesting that congress should force the USPTO (and specifically the examiners in question) to explain their actions is "ignorant" in your opinion, and anyone who dares suggest such is a "fucktard?" Did someone piss in your Cheerios this morning?

Re:Write your congressman (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14793338)

The link you reference doesn't say that the examiners cannot, or are somehow immune from, giving testimony only that there is a specific procedure that has to be followed before they can. It's also questionable if the policy would apply to a congressional subpoena, because it wouldn't be a legal proceeding.

Sure it does. Did you see the 'except as 37 CFR 104' bit? Go read that before you presume it has nothing to do with anything.

"If Department of Justice representation cannot be arranged, the employee should appear at the time and place set forth in the subpoena. In such a case, the employee should produce a copy of these rules and state that the General Counsel has advised the employee not to provide the requested testimony nor to produce the requested document. If a legal tribunal rules that the demand in the subpoena must be complied with, the employee shall respectfully decline to comply with the demand, citing United States ex rel. Touhy v. Ragen, 340 U.S. 462 (1951)."

Re:Write your congressman (1)

Bloke down the pub (861787) | more than 8 years ago | (#14850246)

Questioning doesn't necessarily mean in court. It could mean about their job performance, i.e. as a preliminary step to firing the useless fuckwads.

Re:Write your congressman (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14790595)

Write your congressmen (and women!) to discourage software and business method patents period.

Re:Write your congressman (1)

GrEp (89884) | more than 8 years ago | (#14793856)

Wow. I started a flamewar :)

Those regulations seem to be departmental policy based on judical precident. I didn't see any laws cited that would prevent them from testifying if given a supena by congress.

WTF? What crack is this article on? (2)

SirDrinksAlot (226001) | more than 8 years ago | (#14789496)

Please for the love of god will somebody go to rim.com and read the press release?

To Quote: http://www.rim.com/news/press/2006/pr-22_02_2006-0 1.shtml [rim.com]

All of the NTP patents have been rejected by the Patent Office in initial and second Office Actions, based in part on prior art not considered in the 2002 trial in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The rejections from the Patent Office were all based on multiple grounds, required the unanimous agreement of 3 senior patent examiners and are expected to withstand all future appeals by NTP.


It only took a month to go from the second to final re examination on the most recient invalidated patent. Yea right the process is going to take years ignoreing everything thats taken place already... This guy needs to be banned from journalism.

They may (1)

nxs212 (303580) | more than 8 years ago | (#14789541)

They may have won the ground but what about the sky?!

Re:They may (1)

whitehatlurker (867714) | more than 8 years ago | (#14789570)

They may have won the ground but what about the sky?!

Take my love, take my land,
Take me where I cannot stand.
I don't care, I'm still free.
You can't take the sky from me.

mod 0p (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14789716)

And 5houting that that the project Many of us are unpleasant

"Successfully"? (2, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 8 years ago | (#14789811)

> NTP, a closely held patent holding company, has successfully sued
> RIM for infringement of its patents.

"successfully sued" inplies that they have won something. They have not. All that they have succeeded in doing so far is filing, which anyone with the cash for the filing fees can do. Tomorrow is the hearing on their motion for a preliminary injunction. There is an excellent chance that it will be denied.

Re:"Successfully"? (1)

waldo2020 (592242) | more than 8 years ago | (#14789905)

wrong - they won the first suit. RIM just refused to pay the settlement they agreed to. they wanted relicensing rights as well and NTP didn't include them. NTP wanted more cash for that and RIM refused to pay. Serve's RIM's stupid lawyers for signing a one page agreement and splitting town on pressing matters.. it's not like the company's future was at stake! wait..

Re:"Successfully"? (2, Informative)

MacBoy (30701) | more than 8 years ago | (#14792087)

Curious that inaccurate remarks are getting modded up as "Insightful" thesedays.

NTP has "WON" the suit, in that the court has ruled that RIM did in fact infringe on the patents. Now the court needs to decide what NTP gets for it. So far, the court has awarded (as a preliminary step while ligitation continues) NTP over 8% of RIM's sales, but NTP is not happy enough with that. RIM and NTP have not been able to come to an agreement on licensing, royalties, whatever, so the court now has to decide whether or not to enforce NTP's request for an injunction which will stop sales and service of the infringing devices. Both sides are calling the other's bluff. NTP hopes that if the injunction goes through, RIM will buckle and pay up hefty royalties rather than fizzle and die. RIM says it has a non-infringing software update ready to deploy if an injunction happens. RIM (and the world) also knows it will eventually win, because the USPTO has already issued preliminary rejection of ALL patents claims concerning the case, and now, a final rejection of some (2 of 9 claims IIRC). But until they are all final rejections, RIM is still infringing and therefore in a precarious legal position (subject to injunctions, for instance). NTP wants to cash in; RIM just wants to continue conducting business (i.e. earning money rather than litigating as a source of income, ala NTP, RAMBUS, SCO, ...) without the handicap of obscene royalties for baseless patents.

Re:"Successfully"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14792103)

Ah, actually NTP has won a jury verdict that was affirmed on appeal. Today's hearing is about the relief they are entitled to - and they are asking for an injunction. Case-law says they are entitled to injunctive relief - but this is the kind of case that generates breaks from precedent.

Patent Medicine (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#14790497)

This long, uncertain, high-stakes patent war shows how the patent system, even when applied by giants, makes for an unstable, unpredictable business climate. Rather than protect property rights so inventors have a stable environment into which people can invest to fund inventions, patents threaten property, reducing rights to privileges bought at a law firm, but retractable by a bigger law firm later on.

Beyond all the other arguments - constitutional, pragmatic, new-economic, philosophical - there really isn't a legitimate simple business argument in favor of the patent system any more. Let's get rid of it, and treat it patents like any monopoly: temporary, and allowed as long as they're not anticompetitive.

The good of the bad (1)

RomulusNR (29439) | more than 8 years ago | (#14795902)

Y'know, part of me almost wishes that NTP managed to cause a shutdown of US BB service, because it would wake the US up about this software patent stupidity. Shutting down a service so broadly used in the business and political sector would have CEOs and senators literally climbing over each other to find a solution to prevent such a problem from happening again.

Meanwhile Canadia would continue to have BB service, causing a potentially embarrassing technological service imbalance on North America. While there are already one or two or so of these (digital radio much?), such a high-profile one would be a thorn in software patentry's side.

Oh, and maybe Canada would see the havoc in US over it and prevent the same thing from happening on its shores, likely before the US could fix it, spearheading patent sensibility in North America.
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