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RIM Wins Ground in Patent War 98

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the fire-in-the-hole dept.
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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RIM Wins Ground in Patent War

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  • Didn't Bill... (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by Eightyford (893696)
    Didn't Bill Clinton have a job there?
  • BES cost (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 23, 2006 @07:50PM (#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 (Score:5, Interesting)

      by azcoffeehabit (533327) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @07:56PM (#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. :)
      • 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.
        • Though Exchange SP2 does support "push" email with MS Mobile Services v5 WARNING: Microsoft publicity page [microsoft.com], here is an Open Source solution I have just came across. funambol open source messaging platform [funambol.com] which could help us keep the costs down when implementing mobile email solutions.
        • Re:BES cost (Score:3, Insightful)

          by brunes69 (86786)
          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 (Score:3, Interesting)

            by aaarrrgggh (9205)
            The difference between push and polling is battery use on the handheld. Push increases battery life, which is always welcome.
            • 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...
            • 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.

              • 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? (Score:3, Informative)

                  by brunes69 (86786)
                  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?

          • 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 ne
      • > 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.
    • 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? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by thunderlizard (947581) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @07:57PM (#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...
    • Looks like a court will be considering an injunction tomorrow!

      http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,1930775,00.as p [eweek.com]
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • albeit in a Slashback [slashdot.org]. :) Anyways, good news I suppose.
  • by paulthomas (685756) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @07:57PM (#14789179) Journal
    A more apt classification would have been:

    From the the-department-of-justice-shant-be-deprived-of-bla ckberries dept.
    • I wish they would make a decision (over the patent case) so I can make a decision.
    • 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.
  • Too bad! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    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! (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      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 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by augustz (18082) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @08:01PM (#14789210) Homepage
    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.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      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?
      • by JohnFluxx (413620) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @08:47PM (#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 :)

        • 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

        • by Anonymous Coward
          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 c
          • 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
            • by Wolfier (94144)
              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".
          • Thanks for the information. What were the other cases though?
    • 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.
  • by troll -1 (956834) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @08:12PM (#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?
    • "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 w
      • 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
      • 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.
  • 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.
    • 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 t
    • 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.
  • 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
    • 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

    • 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. [slashdot.org]

      • "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
    • 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 hardwar
  • > 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?
    • 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.

    • What about the other four patents? Only one out of five was rejected.
      • 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.
        • Correction: It takes no more than common sense for the judge to not take todays ruling into account with.

          [:..itchy.mouse.finger..:]
        • 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.
    • 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).
  • by Anonymous Coward
    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.
    • 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.
  • by GrEp (89884) <crb002NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday February 23, 2006 @08:38PM (#14789383) Homepage Journal
    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
    • 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 testimon [uspto.gov]

      • 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
      • 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.
    • 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.

  • And I thought my thumbs were going to get better (Sore Thumbs and Texting - http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/02/23/193521 5 [slashdot.org])... I guess I better opt for thumb replacement surgery.
  • 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 e

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

  • "Successfully"? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by John Hasler (414242) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @10:22PM (#14789811) Homepage
    > 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.
    • 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"? (Score:3, Informative)

      by MacBoy (30701)
      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 no
  • 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 is
  • Didn't this already appear in a slashback [slashdot.org] the night before last?

    Not like I submitted it then, or anything.
  • 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 the

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