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RIM Settles Long-Standing Blackberry Claim

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the end-to-a-long-and-sordid-tale dept.

295

David Jao writes "Research in Motion has agreed to pay 612.5 million dollars for a 'full and final settlement of all claims' resulting from the NTP patent lawsuit against the makers of BlackBerry. According to the article, the settlement is 'on the low end of expectations', perhaps because the patents in question had earlier been preliminarily ruled invalid by the US Patents & Trademarks Office." Many article submitters characterize this move as 'giving in' to NTP's tactics. What do you think?

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i think you shoud smoke my pole (1)

Asshat_Nazi (946431) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847092)

you pole smoking nigger turd! eat my ass-hair

Oh yeah...well (-1, Troll)

Fuck_Firefox (850266) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847594)

lick my sweaty sac you peter puffing pinko fag

I'm confused... (4, Insightful)

chill (34294) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847104)

...if the patents that based NTP's lawsuit were going to be ruled invalid, what was the basis for the settlement? Why didn't RIM just tell NTP to go fuck themselves and wait for the patent office to finish. No patent == no patent infringement == no lawsuit.

Re:I'm confused... (4, Insightful)

jarich (733129) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847125)

I suspect that they were bleeding customers like crazy from all the bad publicity and the near shutdowns. I can't imagine how much stress their bean counters were under! ;)

Also, do you really know that the patents were invalid? I haven't looked at it that closely.

Re:I'm confused... (1)

grub (11606) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847420)


Bleeding customers to where? RIM owns the portable market.

Re:I'm confused... (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847682)

RIM owns the portable market.

No, I think the portable market just pwn3d RIM.

Re:I'm confused... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14847714)



It doesn't matter. How many live for Blackberry to keep their lives in order? There's a reason it's called a Crackberry....but:

This isn't The Wrath of Khan" where "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few...or the one".

If Blackberrys' email functionality had been shut off, the users would be screaming bloody murder but one of a couple of things would happen: they'd do without, do without - temporarily, hoping it'll be restored soon, find some other means, or have RIM provide them with specific phone numbers and let the Blackberry customers create a DOS attack on the phone system, attempting to force them to play ball. That might piss someone off and make them raise the stakes.

You know, a lot of this could have been avoided had engineers kept good records, turned copies over periodically, and Legal performed the proper patent checks. There should be a landshark BBQ when this settles down. The problem is landsharks are bottom feeders and probably don't taste very good. They could still be cooked on a spit...for sport [for screwing the company via their incompetence, although they pass the actual work off to someone else to do the actual searches].

Re:I'm confused... (1)

rainman_bc (735332) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847132)

? Why didn't RIM just tell NTP to go fuck themselves and wait for the patent office to finish.

Because the judge in the last ruling was really pissed off and stated the case never should have made it to the courts, and that RIM should have settled with NTP.

For RIM to settle for so much, it means that they figured they'd lose even more. The judge basically tore them a new a55hol3

Me too, I'm confused... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14847159)

The judge basically tore them a new a55hol3

Did you mean "asshole"? Is there something wrong with your keyboard? Oh, I'm sorry, it's a "l33t" thing...

Re:I'm confused... (5, Insightful)

cyngus (753668) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847136)

Simple. The uncertainty surrounding RIM was hurting their business and was going to continue to. By resolving the dispute sooner they keep many customers they might have lost and have a better chance of attracting more. NTP could have kept this dragging through the courts for years and possibly sunk RIM in the process. Gotta love corporate shakedowns.

Re:I'm confused... (0)

peragrin (659227) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847328)

According to that logic IBM should settle with SCO has that lawsuit is hurting IBm's linux sales.

Only the guilty should give in to those tactics. That's why MSFT almost always pays up.

Re:I'm confused... (4, Insightful)

GoMMiX (748510) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847384)

Ahhh, but people thought this case had something to it. They had patents. SCO on the otherhand has nothing, and even they know it.

Lets not forget IBM was not losing business at all as a result of SCO's suit against them. SCO's suit against IBM has actually been positive publicity for IBM - that much has been apparent since the day it was filed.

The blackberry, on the otherhand, had a lot of people very concerned given the validity the courts gave to the claims (IE: they already won once).

Remember the GPL (2, Interesting)

Yartrebo (690383) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847443)

The GPL pretty much bound IBM to not settle. If there are patent restrictions on the code, then it cannot be used, therefore IBM had to fight it. Just another reason why I prefer stronger copyleft licenses over weaker ones.

Gee, I hope there's a clause in the settlement... (1)

OmniGeek (72743) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847597)

that voids it and returns most of RIM's money in the event that the patents in suit are ruled invalid by the USPTO. If I were RIM, I'd reeeeally want a clause to that effect; then again, NTP is unlikely to be thrilled about that, so it's anyone's guess.

Re:I'm confused... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14847144)

TFA writes:
Many article submitters characterize this move as 'giving in' to NTP's tactics. What do you think?


  1. Yes, it's giving in, and
  2. As a shareholder of RIMM, I agree 100%

Yes, RIMM would have eventually won; and yes, NTP is a bunch of mafia scum - but it's not RIMM's fight to fight.


The settlement now means good things, because it's settled - and delays in settling this would have costed far more --- not just legal fees,but worse from the PR pain that MSFT Origami FUD would bring("but do you really want that illegal RIM stuff, or would you prefer Origami which comes with indemnification").


Whatever it cost, at least the lawsuit is behind them, and now they can continue on with their business without the clouds of doubt regarding their service.

Re:I'm confused... (2, Insightful)

TedTschopp (244839) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847182)

Well, the whole thing turns on the fact that RIM used smoke and mirrors on a software demo in the trail and basically lied to the judge. The Patents were being overturned becuase the federal government was putting pressure on the Patent Office to make the case 'go away.' Also the rulings on the Patents could be appealed in the patent office and then into federal courts.

Re:I'm confused... (2, Interesting)

Shabbs (11692) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847464)

I think it came down to the fact that because they were found guilty previously in a lower court and that they had appealed all the way to the highest court possible, they could not appeal any further to get the charges thrown out based on the patent invalidations. So, the court would have to find them guilty and issue charges. Customers were getting ready to run and RIM wanted to prevent more bleeding. At least they (and their customers) don't every have to pay another dime to NTP.

It seems really dumb. Why couldn't the court just say "based on new information... yadda yadda yadda" like on L&O and throw the case out? Can someone explain that?

Boggles the mind...

Making the Best of a Bad Situation (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14847486)

Since the Judge has already indicated that even though the PTO has recently determined that the patents under dispute are invalid, at the time the case was filed, they were not and that's what any decision will be based upon. That's right, even though they've proven the patents to be no good, the judge is not accepting any further arguments before his decision is handed down except for proceedural as the jury has already ruled on the case.

So what RIM has done is made the best of a bad situation by deciding to settle for the licenses they need while continuing to fight the issue through the PTO and courts. In fact the decision is exactly what I expected of a corporate board the follows it's Fiduciary Responsibilities to the share holders. That's right, the solution is far cheaper then was orignially determined even with the court case and they most likely are including a clause that if the patents are finally rejected, that they wont be paying anywhere's but a pitance for the trouble. Hell it's even possible that RIM's lawyers will be able to hold NTP's feet to the fire in regards to reimbursing them for the agravation and they may even make a small profit from this matter.

Re:Making the Best of a Bad Situation (1)

BluSkreen (47256) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847545)

The rejections to all but one of the patents were preliminary findings. The only final rejection was issued last week. There is an appeals process that can take upwards of a year or better and RIM was held under a previous ruling. NTP did try to build a similar device that predated Blackberry by several years but failed.

I guess they won the patent lottery. (3, Insightful)

God Virus (91209) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847105)

This is ridiculous. Why should a company with only an idea and no product have any claim to over half a billion dollars? It's not like Blackberry stole their idea, right?

Priceless (1)

Dukeofshadows (607689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847200)

Blackberry wireless phone: (at least) $199.99

Bad Press and market instability: $100 million+

Patent Infringement Settlement Case: $612 million

Sound of Silence from annoying company who may/may not have driven you out of business without settlement/payoff: Priceless

If *somehow* they can use a credit card on this one, I want to know if they how much cash back or frequent flyer miles they get...

Re:I guess they won the patent lottery. (1)

Tiger4 (840741) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847256)

Well, yes it is exactly like Blackberry stole their idea. That is what patent infringement is.

Whether it was an origninal idea that NTP should own exclusive rights to is another question.

Re:I guess they won the patent lottery. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14847370)

actually, patent infringement is anytime you profit from an idea which is patented.

STEALING an idea is called WILLFUL infringement.

Re:I guess they won the patent lottery. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14847386)

It is entirely possible for company to buy patents for possibly obvious things like sliced bread, then wait for some "poor" company to make sliced bread without even noticing the patent. Then after the company is successfull, sue.

Please explain specifically how RIM "stole" the idea.
 

Not having a product doesn't mean anything (5, Insightful)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847582)

I'm not in favor of NTP or anything, but the people who point out that NTP had no product are missing the point of patents.

Suppose you invented the Blackberry. You. Right now. You have the idea. Now what? Do you have the financial backing to manufacture a million Blackberrys? Do you have the industry connections to go around and make deals with all the mobile carriers to get your service into people's hands? No. But it's still a good idea, so you want to go forward with it. That means finding potential partners and investors. But just talking to those people about it is spreading the idea around. Suppose you go to the mobile company and say, "I have these plans for this service, I'm going to call it Blackberry." What's stopping them from just making the service themselves and cutting you out of the picture completely?

Your patent is.

In an ideal world, that's what patents are for: protecting the little guy inventor from big business.

MOD PARENT UP (1)

mark_hill97 (897586) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847648)

I dont have any mod points at the moment else I would be modding this guy up. This is very insightful.

Now if patents should last longer than your lifetime is another question entirely...

Re:Not having a product doesn't mean anything (4, Insightful)

DShard (159067) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847708)

Which is utter bunk. NTP came in after the fact, well after precedent and patented obviousness. These people had no product other than litigation. Their business plan was to sue successful companies.
    Now let's assume that you are the little guy. You come up with something utterly missing in the market. Let's call it middle management crack. So you patent it, build a company on it and become the "next big thing".
    During that time, a different company, comes in who doesn't actually make anything new or produce any products. What they do is buy "analysts" to come up with how your design is "not patented". Next they produce legalease to sue you for your unique business model. At no point have they ever had _one_ customer and now they sue you.

This is what happened in this case. In an ideal world, people can not use the justice system to extort money from you.

612.5 million?! (5, Insightful)

BewireNomali (618969) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847107)

Low end of expectations? Wow. This justifies patent squatting to the unscrupulous looking for the cash-out.

Re:612.5 million?! (4, Insightful)

faedle (114018) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847170)

Yep. And it all started when RIM very loudly and publically stated that they would sue others based on their patent claims.

RIM got exactly what they deserved.

Re:612.5 million?! (3, Insightful)

tsm_sf (545316) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847414)

Yeah, it's like watching the two biggest bullies in school fight each other. It's fun to see one of them get his ass kicked, but you know that the other will still be after you tomorrow.

((man, sometimes I feel like I just post on /. to exercise my analogy lobe))

Re:612.5 million?! (3, Funny)

clem (5683) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847541)

Yeah, it's like you're a shark [penny-arcade.com] .

Re:612.5 million?! (1)

dnoyeb (547705) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847490)

You sure? Perhaps RIM got 'rights' in this settlement and the company that sued RIM will go one to sue others having "sold its first license" to RIM. Perhaps RIM only agreed to settle if NTP agreed to sue somebody else.

Disappointed (4, Insightful)

OzPhIsH (560038) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847115)

I'm pretty disappointed with this move by RIM. I was hoping that by going all the way through the courts we might get some serious patent reform out of the whole mess. While this brought a lot of attention to the issue, I fear that it will just go back to being business as usual at the patent office.

Re:Disappointed (1)

Leon_Trotsky (702427) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847128)

From what I understand, by the time RIM fought this and won, they would be so outta business it really wouldn't matter much anymore. This was an ass saving move, regardless of how right or wrong it was.

Re:Disappointed (1)

topham (32406) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847149)

The problem is, for them to win they would have had to continue this farce for 2+ years.

Hardly a good business decision to keep this going until the competition catches up.

Re:Disappointed (1)

idlake (850372) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847506)

The competition "caught up" long ago; RIM's products suck compared to Treo, Symbian, Hiptop, or even WinMobile.

Re:Disappointed (1)

The_Sock (17010) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847713)

The features and managability of blackberries with BES make it hands down the only choice for the security conscious enterprise. I can kill any of our blackberries, wipe the data, change the settings, change the password, lock the unit, all from my home. The CEO's BB got stolen? No problem, it has a 8 digit minimum password, locks itself every time it goes into the holster, and it's now useless. That is the features that sold us on them. The apps and OS, sure, others are ahead, but if they want to displace BBs at the top, they've got a lot of catching up to do in these areas. Now it's been a while since I looked at anything else, but I don't imagine this became possible with the competition, though I could be wrong.

The judge was really clear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14847206)

He told RIM to settle or prepare for some serious pain. He could just have granted the injunction and put RIM out of business right then and there. The reason this happened this way is because the legal system is set up the way it is.

Re:Disappointed (2, Insightful)

audioinfektion (849134) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847345)

You have to realise that once the patent office is completely finished with the NTP patents, and all options for appeals are over with, You can bet that RIM will be knocking on NTPs door, asking for that money back, plus interest.

Re:Disappointed (1)

Eric Smith (4379) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847473)

I wouldn't count on it. RIM may have decided that they're better off paying for a patent license, then joining forces with NTP to sue the pants off anyone else that tries to offer a similer product/service. If RIM no longer pushes the patent office to invalidate NTP patents, then it is likely that they won't get invalidated, and that the ones that have had non-final (or even final) rejections will be reinstated on appeal.

Re:Disappointed yes inspired (1)

saskboy (600063) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847350)

Can I patent the method for extorting money out of a company that produces a product I dreamed up but never actually bothered to make? While I'm at it, I'm also going to patent the process for exchanging currency under a table like structure to encourage laws favourable to me making more money.

Don't give up too soon. (2, Interesting)

C10H14N2 (640033) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847499)

After shelling out $612M over this, spending another $100M on a massive PR campaign to get the public and Congress behind tearing up the whole patent system and starting over will seem like a gratuity.

Keep in mind, the House and Senate (not to mention damn near every federal agency imaginable) use Blackberry, so they're already on their side and will probably be more than happy to make life $612M easier for RIM over time.

Re:Disappointed (4, Interesting)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847516)

I'm pretty disappointed with this move by RIM. I was hoping that by going all the way through the courts we might get some serious patent reform out of the whole mess

This might not have been a good case for prompting patent reform. I haven't read the patents myself, but from the discussion on the TWiT podcast, they were saying that the patents actually looked pretty legitimate, and were only likely to be overturned because of the immense pressure the government was putting on to keep their Blackberries going.

In other words, it's not clear that NTP is that bad guy here, and the RIM is the good guy.

Re:Disappointed (2, Insightful)

Voltageaav (798022) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847598)

So filing patents on ideas you think someone will make money off of someday makes you a "good guy"? Were you an Emporer Palpatine fan?

Re:Disappointed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14847608)

I don't care how good your idea is... if you want $600,000,000, you should have to work for it.

No other choice... (4, Insightful)

avalys (221114) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847117)

They had no other choice but to give in. There was an article in the WSJ today that talked about how many people were switching to competitor's products, just because of the uncertainty surrounding the Blackberry.

It will be interesting to see how easily they recover from this.

Who gave up? Not RIM, that's for sure! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14847121)

Research In Motion did not, as you've so foolishly claimed, "give in". RIM could've given NTP a billion dollars (that's BILLION WITH A "B") and they would still be profitable.

NTP is the loser in this battle. They could've gotten much more money. But I'm guessing finance isn't the strong part of your average Slashdot reader.

Re:Who gave up? Not RIM, that's for sure! (4, Insightful)

HoneyBunchesOfGoats (619017) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847168)

So if someone tries to blackmail me for $100 and I talk them down to $50, I didn't give in either?

That's some faulty logic right there.

Re:Who gave up? Not RIM, that's for sure! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14847272)

RIM is worth much more than $100. This is more like blackmailing a multimillionaire for 3 cents.

(note: there was a cent symbol above there, but Slashdot apparently couldn't handle it. So much for obeying the "standards" that Slashdot calls jihads to defend.)

Re:Who gave up? Not RIM, that's for sure! (1)

HoneyBunchesOfGoats (619017) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847375)

The prices were simply for illustration purposes; my example would be 100% valid, though, if I was poor and 'worth' only a few hundred dollars. Even if I was a millionaire, paying such a small amount as blackmail still condones the act of blackmailing, and that's the point I was trying to get across.

Some developers are pissed. (1)

PastAustin (941464) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847123)

The people who developed the work around must be pissed off.

Thank god.
How to shut patent trolls up.
$612 million. Bastards.

Also this thought (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14847127)

N
ot only is it "giving into" NTP, but it is also giving NTP 612.5 million "bullets" to go after anybody who transmits a message using a computer. Which they will do, because it is their business model to do so.

Re:Also this thought (1)

Biff Stu (654099) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847154)

If their patents are ruled invaled, they won't be of much use for future 'business.'

Related Article (1)

9mm Censor (705379) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847138)

RIM Loses NTP Case, To Pay $53 Million 256 comments [+] HAHAHA

I'll tell you what I think (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14847142)

I think I've gotta get me one of them patent thingies.

Time to organize because.. (2, Interesting)

christian.einfeldt (874074) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847148)

...we could be next. Larry Lessig makes the point of saying that stuff like this and SCO is only the tip of the iceberg. We need patent reform. Larry Lessig urges people to spend say the equivalent of what you would spend supporting the copyright cartel on a monthly basis by giving to the org of your choice to fight this kind of stuff. So if your Comcast bill is $75.00, maybe you could squeeze out that much for the EFF.org, etc.

Re:Time to organize because.. (1)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847425)

I was flipping back and forth between Bloomberg and CNBC, and the anchors and analysts on both of those stations seemed to be questioning the whole 'patent portfolio' method of doing business, as well as the viability of these kinds of patents in general. It may be a good sign that some of them are waking up to the potential damage involved here.

I am curious what will happen if the remaining patents are ruled invalid, though. Can shareholders then sue to overturn the deal and retrieve the money, taking on the burden of the legal fight while letting RIM continue business?

Or maybe they should put their cocks in your ass. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14847430)

nT

Cash Money (2, Insightful)

srchestnut (717652) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847171)

It's about money. RIM figured that it was going to cost them more than 612.5M for lawyers fees, lost revenue and the court decision. They did what was best for their company. We just have a crappy system for IP and judicial arbitration.

They couldnt afford a pyrrhic victory (1)

voss (52565) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847184)

Sure they could fight it out and possiblu win in 8 years after all appeals are through but theyd be dead as a company,600 million is 1/3 of RIM's cash reserves for peace of mind.

A lot of that cash reserve was earmarked (1)

WoTG (610710) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847691)

IIRC, a lot of that cash reserve was already earmarked for a settlement -- it would have made sense to put aside about a half a billion since thay had a tentative deal for 450M at this time last year. So, the corporate books won't be hit too bad.

As much as I despise NTP's "business", it was better for RIM to do the deal. Customer uncertainty and all that...

NTP is really... (0, Troll)

blew_fantom (809889) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847185)

NTP=SCO????

AW MAN! (1)

rogerborn (236155) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847190)


RIM caved to NTP?!!

That's like Patton surrendering to the Germans when they were kickin their asses!

NTP's patents were bogus to begin with. They had no product.

RIM was winning in court.

Whoever it was who made this decision, FIRE 'EM!

Now anybody with a worthless patent will try harder to sue legitimate businesses.

RATS!

Regards,
Roger Born
"Sorry. No Refunds."

I really hope... (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847220)

they countersue or something. Heck, can't the congress just abolish the friggin' patents!?

GRRRRRRRRRRRR! :(

Re:AW MAN! (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847689)

You don't need a product to have a legit patent.
Sheesh, I seriously hope you develop some technology that you can't afford to develop. Then before you get funding,some company infringse upon it and make billions.

I am sure if that happens, you wouldn't dream of suing.

All this proves is we need to fix the USPTO (4, Interesting)

morganew (194299) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847202)

The industry and millions of consumers are breathing a collective sigh of relief tonight.

Despite averting a BlackBerry shutdown, however, this case is just more proof that the US Patent Office is in crisis. While some of NTP's patents may prove to be valid, it is clear that many of them should never have been granted in the first place.

The US Patent Office's failure to ensure quality threatens the patent system that is so critical to innovative small tech firms. If the quality of patents is not improved, the industry may lose faith in the entire system.

Some may not like software patents, but the reality is that companies have them. Open Source Champion IBM is the single largest patenter in the WORLD. they still make billions (with a b) off of patent licensing - including software/method patent licensing. Small companies like 'slingbox' have patents to ensure that they get VC funding and to prevent Sony from just creating the exact same product and steamrolling them.

I, along with Diane Peters from OSDL, Bruce Perens, lawyers from IBM and others got together at the USPTO last month to talk about ways to improve patent quality. No solutions yet, but some good discussion.

The quality issue MUST be solved, and NOW; so before you launch into a general "patents suck" rage, take a reality check and think about ways to get more prior art into the patent system and improve the quality.

It will be several years before patent reform legislation becomes law, so we are going to to have to find technology solutions that we can implement now, and hope that legislation fixes the things we can't.

Morgan Reed

Re:All this proves is we need to fix the USPTO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14847650)

Open Source Champion IBM is the single largest patenter in the WORLD

That's right. If you lack the cluefullness to observe the obvious in your own oxymoronic illustration: that IBM is no "Open Source Champion" but merely an opportunistic leach; you have clearly checked out of the reality department long ago. Software and business method patents do not have a "quality problem", they are fundamentally structurally unsound [ffii.org] . Even Bill Gates understands this [ffii.org] .

If you've spent any time at all with an IBM sales executive, you would realize that IBM's open source strategy is simply a way to bait people into using software [apache.org] which will hopefully segue [eclipse.org] into proprietary upgrades [ibm.com] .

As RMS has so elequently and accurately stated over and over again: the greatest impediment to software development is not innovation - we have had plenty of that with no help from the USPTO. The greatest impedement to software development is the creation of large scale systems. Because of software patents, any software project of any substance must navigate a legal minefield. That is an impedement to progress, much more so than any threat to the pretensions of petulant greedy developers who think their little brain farts should feed their grandchildren.

Re:All this proves is we need to fix the USPTO (1)

Dominic Burns (673810) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847664)

I genuinely admire your standpoint - I agree with it.

The simple fact is, it won't change for the better because the US political system is a plutocracy, not a democracy [like all the other bullshit 'democracies' worldwide].

You won't change it, I won't change it - FFS, 99% of the people saying 'no' won't change it [even if 'the people' had a voice in the first place, which they don't and won't] because it's all about MONEY and POWER.

Piror Art is Not The Only Issue (1)

raftpeople (844215) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847703)

Most software patents I am aware of are relatively obvious, including RIM and NTP's patents in this case. Prior art is not the only issue, the entire definition of what should be patentable is problematic. Currently any combination of technologies not previously written about that is non-obvious (by who's definition?) is legit. Maybe I should write a patent generator that randomly combines existing technologies.

We need to ask ourselves what the purpose of a patent is, and then make the rules aligned with the goals.

NTP Wins (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847255)

Which translates to "Claim Jumper Wins Patent on Gold Panning"

Hooray for those who set traps and await companies to develop and market products before suing them to protect their IP.

Re:NTP Wins (1)

RembrandtX (240864) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847344)

its not exactly that simple ..
have you ever tried find out if your IP is being infringed upon ?

I'm actually in that business now http://www.i4e.com/ [i4e.com] ,http://www.invequity.com/ [invequity.com]

its a very hard thing to do .. My company is breaking ground certainly, by figuring out a way to allow other companies to check to see if their products infringe, and settle that .. BEFORE their company is worth million.

Really, most attourneys will check 10-12 fields to see if there is infringement when writing up a claim, thats considered 'enough' and that itself is 2-3 months worth of work. [For those of you that think filing for a patent is as simple as filing your taxes online, its time for a rude awakening .. not only are the costs upward of $25k for a well written patent - you know, one that holds up in court - but there is at least a 1-2 year turn around from your preliminary filing. in ADDITION .. you need to maintain that patent, at additional cost, over its lifetime. Its cost prohibitive to 'camp' patents like people 'camp' DNS names.

Had RIM done their homework (and some argue that they did, and just ignored it) before bringing the ir product to market, they would have known about the infringement, and could have licenced it VERY cheap from NTP.

Had RIM made a serious offer the first or even the second time around, instead of trying to lowball NTP - despratly hoping they would go away - then this would have been over years ago.

As it stands, NTP just had to wait. They have the patents, they are valid patents (until the USPTO says they are not, and that is a 2-3 year review process.) The courts decided RIM was infringing unless the patents were invalid.

RIM could either pony up. Or try to fight the validity of the patents .. and NOT be allowed to do any business until that time. Since their entire business is BASED on the disputed IP, that was really just a bad bluff on that part.

They were faced with a choice. Go out of business, or pay the licencing fees.

In poker, they would have been called the cripple at a table.

Re:NTP Wins (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847657)

Funny, I paid less then 1000 for my patent, and it held up in court.
You only need to pay 25000 for a lawyer if you are trying to get a patent that is overly broad, or very similiar to one that exists. You know, people who are trying to screw the system.

The cost for maintaining a patent is not that prohibitive.

RIM stock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14847279)

And the stock is up 13% in after hours trading...

http://www.google.com/search?q=rimm [google.com]

Countersuit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14847281)


So, when the patents are finally ruled invalid, don't you think RIM will come after NTP with a new lawsuit?

Anybody know if the settlement terms preclude this?

What you don't understand is..... (1)

bherman (531936) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847293)

the folks over at RIM are avid /. readers. They are paying this money to NTP to help reduce the amount of dupes on /. That series of articles, due to their frequency, accounted for 75% of dupes.

THANK YOU RIM!!!!!

here is to a dupe free /.

RIM just payed 'SHUT UP' Money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14847300)

I think when standing in the shoes of RIM, the settlement was the best choice.

The lawsuit was making their stock go crazy, and the users of the BlackBerry service were worried that they would have to find some sort of Methodone for their CrackBerries.

There is nothing in the world that is as helpless or irresponsible as an executive without his CrackBerry. (with apologies to HST)

I know a bunch of the "patents suck" bandwagon are pissed (IMHO, they have good reason), but for RIM, the suit was really effecting their bottom line. Shut up money is usually cheaper than liberty or death money.

What do I think? (1, Funny)

Fear the Clam (230933) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847315)

I think most people who use Blackberries are complete and utter asshats.

If they're not top posting, dropping attachments, or bitching because they can't see the website (the one they told to be designed for IE and damn everyone else), they're pounding away on that thing in meetings, giving everyone else half their attention.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless Blackberry. Because I'm a fucking tool.

Re:What do I think? (1)

OzPhIsH (560038) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847338)

Yeah scre those basta.. wait my Treo is ringing.

Re:What do I think? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14847607)

I assume you check your cell phone and watch at the door to meetings?

Magic money for nothing (4, Interesting)

coljac (154587) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847326)

Despite RIM's unethical courtroom tactics (which backfired spectacularly), I can't help but be very disappointed by this decision. SIX HUNDRED MILLION dollars - a staggering sum - to be paid to these guys, for what? No hard work, no product, no contribution to science and technology. It's extortion, and I don't even understand the leverage they used given their patents are invalid. If I was the CEO of RIM (ignoring the realities of fiduciary duties to shareholders) I would rather go bankrupt than let the patent trolls become wealthy from my hard work.

The one good thing to come of this is it has raised the problem in the public eye. Congressmen thought they would lose their Blackberries. Let's hope some real reform is on the way.

Unethical courtroom tactics? (1)

rewt66 (738525) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847571)

I'm not saying that you're wrong, but for those of us who haven't been following this case that closely, could you give a bit more detail on what "unethical courtroom tactics" RIM tried, and how they backfired?

The only thing worse than a patent troll... (4, Insightful)

Trailer Trash (60756) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847346)

is a patent troll with $600M in the bank.

Why isn't the mafia into this yet? (1)

Lead Butthead (321013) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847366)

Surely, this is quite profitable, and IT'S ALL LEGAL.

Re:Why isn't the mafia into this yet? (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847511)

How do you know they aren't? Maybe we ought to do a little checking up on these NTP guys. You might find some of Gotti's distant(or maybe not so distant) relatives. IP law generates much (info)contraband... The life blood of organized crime...and many governments.

How long have I been waiting to use... (1)

T-Ranger (10520) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847412)

Wow, they sure got themselves a RIMJob.

Pay them and then kick them in the groin... (2, Interesting)

rdean400 (322321) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847442)

The action to invalidate NTP's patents continues, so NTP won't be able to do this to other vendors. The flawed legal & patent systems led to this resolution. RIM basically had two choices: 1) risk the injunction (which would have been a death sentence for the Blackberry business, no matter what workarounds they had) or 2) pay them to shut up, and rest easy knowing the customers won't be left high and dry because of an injunction.

Serves the f*****s right (3, Informative)

Emor dNilapasi (455542) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847459)

This couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of bottom-feeding scumbuckets. Don't forget that RIM (or "Lawsuits in Motion" as El Reg dubbed them) was the <multiple nasty adjectives> group of clowns who sued Palm and others for daring to infringe on their breathtakingly innovative concept of putting a little keyboard on a PDA. Screw 'em. Screw 'em right up the arse with a pile-driver, 10 metres of razor wire, and a bottle of vinegar. And whether you love software patents or hate them, this event is a rare conjunction of equal parts schadenfreude and poetic justice.

Now we just have to wait a few years for the NTP <descriptions containing far too much vitriol to ever be displayed publicly> to get their peckers handed to them in thin slices. It'll be worth it.

Re:Serves the f*****s right (1)

OnlineAlias (828288) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847567)

OH MAN, MOD PARENT UP! You are so right, I wondered when someone was going to point that out...

Patent Purchase Spree (1)

9mm Censor (705379) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847479)

Well $600M less legal fees, still provides considerable ammount of coin for NTP to live the rich life, and buy some more patents, to sit on, until their coiffers run dry again. In any sense, the laywers one this one..

Too bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14847514)

Too bad they're still in business, because in the end, a crackberry is still a proprietary piece of crap. How many people will unnecessarily waste how much time and money on the proprietary treadmill because they just don't know any better? How much better off would we all be without all the greedy fucktards who think the world owes them a living for having little brain farts now and then? "Oooo, push email!" Cripes people are stupid.

What were the real terms? (2, Interesting)

tomhath (637240) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847558)

By settling, RIM now has a license to "patented" technology. So their competitors still have to worry about patents claimed by NTP (and RIM). If RIM had kept fighting to the end and actually won they (and their competitors) would have no IP claim to the technology.

Settlement was a good idea (1)

aimless (311570) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847595)

Just a cursory review of the top level comments, but most of us are missing a big piece here....

RIM already took a $450M reserve against the settlement. They only owe another $160M which should be no problem over the next few quarters for them to finance...

Here is the Kicker: The settlement does NOT obligate RIM to pay royalties.

-A

Why are they patent trolls? (4, Informative)

lmlloyd (867110) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847599)

I love how the big company always gets the benefit of the doubt in today's corporate-loving world.

The founder of NTP had many years of wireless experience, and developed many technologies that moved wireless messaging forward. When RIM showed up on the scene, he sent them (as well as some other companies) a few letters to inform them that they were infringing on his patents. RIM ignored the letters, and continued doing business as though they had never heard of this guy. He didn't sue, he just chalked it up to a losing battle that there was nothing he could do anything about.

Then he saw a story about how RIM was suing other companies out of existence using patents that were infringing on HIS patents. At that point he figured it was time to try and get a big law firm involved, and went after RIM. He died of cancer before this whole court case was ever finished, but I am glad to hear his family will be well off.

The fact of the matter is, this never would have even happened if RIM hadn't started the whole thing by employing predatory practices with their dubious patents to drive competition out of business in the first place. I have no sympathy for RIM at all. They flat out lied in court, and were busted for it, they used some pretty questionable lobbying practices to get NTP patents invalidated, and they have practiced far more dubious patent extortion than NTP ever did. I don't think this is a case of a fine, upstanding company getting a shakedown by a troll. This is a case of pretty sweet karma in action!

Re:Why are they patent trolls? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14847632)

Suck it, NTP. Gay squatters.

Hurray (1)

Mel Tom (957643) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847640)

Hurray!!! Research In Motion is Back in Motion.

Back to Business as Usual (4, Insightful)

tekrat (242117) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847652)

This didn't solve anything. If anything it made things worse. I didn't see *ANY* reporting that the flawed patent system was at fault.

All I heard from the mainstream news media was the Blackberry was being sued, and now they settled for $600 Million, so, in my mind, they must have been at fault.

Furthermore, this payment will embolden other patent trolls who want to be fed to the tune of millions for doing nothing.

And the Patent System will go merrily on it way, because now that Senators can use their Blackberries again, do you think they are going to give a tinker's damn that the system is flawed?

If I'd been running Blackberry, I'd have shut down service for 24 hours, with the message "we can't provide service due to a flawed patent system.".

Does anybody here remember the day everyone made their webpages BLACK as a protest? Does anybody remember when it was OKAY to fight back against something that was wrong? Now it seems, the M.O. is to give up, pay the bastards and lick your wounds, regardless of who's right or wrong.

In fact, the more wrong you are, the harder you should fight, it seems, because these days, the good guy always loses. (RIAA anyone?)

What a wonderful lesson to teach our younger people.
George Lucas should make a movie on that subject.

So this is how freedom dies. With a $600 Million payout.

TTYL
A disgusted and concerned old-timer.

Re:Back to Business as Usual (0)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847671)

Patent trolls?
Look, If I develop something and patent it; then some other company comes along and infringes it, so I sue, suddenly I am a patent troll?
It's not like a can craete a scripts to register patents for 10 bucks a pop.

Next up, man opens soda stand and waits for customrs, that soda troll asshat!

Here's what many people will think (1)

mpsmps (178373) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847661)

"$612 million for patents that don't have to be valid. I think I can do that."

Get ready for the floodgates.

Patents Suck (1)

dmbtech (790450) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847686)

It seems as if patents are bringing corruptness to society. It seems like patents are resulting in fear of innovation and fear of making new products. There needs to be reform in the patent system NOW. It is uterly rediculus that people can sue over such things. Ideas are not products and certainly do not deserver half a billion dollars. Anyway, Conclusion, patens cause corruption, and there needs to be change.

NTP (1)

AgNO3 (878843) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847711)

If you think NTP never had a product then you don't know SHIT about what NTP had done in the past. I am not linking you, You can do some real research into what NTP had done with Major corporations like ATT and what ATT did to fuck over NTP. NTP was put in a position of being pretty much bankrupt because of ATT. Also the Patent office ruling the patents invalid has to offer NTP the chance to show they are valid so this could have drug on for a good long time. So my position is this. NTP had a valid patent was fucked over by ATT who left NTP bankrupt. Whether NTP had the wear with all to produce a product after that VERY PUBLIC display of what NTP could do which I am sure RIM boy was aware of. RIM LIED IN COURT PEOPLE the RIGGED a display meant to show previous art. HELLO RIGGED A COURT UNDER OATH DISPLAY. So what ever. Maybe RTFM means you have to do some extra research into the realities of the case. I once had a wester civ teacher who on the first day said this to us. If you come to every class and do all the required reading you will get a "C" on my test. Makes since to me because that would be AVERAGE work. So maybe people need to do more then read the aritcle on complex subjects that have something like 20 years of back story.
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