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Blackberry Injunction Postponed 166

Posted by Zonk
from the chalk-one-up-for-not-dumbness dept.
Astin writes "The PTO has rejected the last of the NTP patents against Research in Motion. On top of this, Judge Spencer has decided that Blackberry service won't be shut down today, but he will issue a decision on the injunction 'as soon as reasonably possible.' RIM CEO Jim Balsillie just said on CNBC that it's 'quite possible' that NTP won't see any settlement from RIM at all now."
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Blackberry Injunction Postponed

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  • Judge Spencer found a big 'ol bag of cash lying on his front porch this morning on the way to work. The two incidents are in no way related.
  • by plankrwf (929870) on Friday February 24, 2006 @04:47PM (#14796260)
    Interesting system in het States: no valid patents, but stil possible infringement... But then, hey, I'm a stupid European ;-0
    • Despite the fact that the US Patent and Technology Office (USPTO) has declared the patents invalid, NTP still has the option of challenging the "invalidity" of those patents in court. Apparently, Judge Spencer won't consider the patents to be non-existant until that happens. The challenge process could take a year or more.
    • Although RIM has alrady been found to have infringed the patents the judge could set asside the jury verdict based on the new information or could simply set damages at $1 and end the case that way.
      • The judge could also set aside the jury verdict, since the patents are invalid, but still award huge sums of money to NTP just to punish RIM for lying in court. It over yet, though there is a woman with a severe thyroid problem gargling water off in the corner.
        • The judge could also set aside the jury verdict, since the patents are invalid, but still award huge sums of money to NTP just to punish RIM for lying in court.

          It looks to me like the judge is the main fraudster in all of this. Apparently, the judge threw a fit because somebody noticed a 1990's file date in directory where supposedly 1980 software was being run for a prior art demonstration. Wellll, this sort of thing makes great theater, but it does not make sound law when you consider that the 1980's so
    • I'd hazard to guess that the judge made his statement before the patent office issued its ruling... or at least before the information made it to the courtroom.

      At least, I hope that's what happened. I know our legal system is messed up, particularly where patents, copyrights and trademarks are concerned, I'd like to think we're not so messed up that you can enforce an invalid patent.
    • In USPTO-ese, the term "final rejection" means 'you need to pay more money if you want us to keep looking at your application,' not 'your application is invalid.'
  • patent squatting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zephc (225327) on Friday February 24, 2006 @04:48PM (#14796269)
    Patent squatting should forfeit the rights to a patent after, say, 3 years if no progress has been made. For example, if Company A patents something, then sits on it for years. Company B makes a device that uses A's patent, but A has done nothing with it said patent. If A can't prove that they are working on developing the invention in the patent, then the patent is voided. That includes you, hoverboard patent!

    Vote for me in 2008 and I will see this passed into law :-D
    • Want my vote? Campaign to invalidate ALL software patents!
    • by sholden (12227)
      There are two situations in which that would be bad.

      If someone invents something for which the barriers to entry are too high - why shouldn't they be able to license it to the existing companies. Instead of the existing companies just waiting 3 years and then using the invention anyway.

      And if someone invents something which relies on some other patented thing. The owner of the existing patent can just not allow them to use it, wait three years, and use the new invention anyway.

      I'm sure there are others too.
      • I think they still should have something. I mean, the "inventions" we're talking about here are nothign of the kind. They're just ideas with no practical anything behind them...Like, I'm going to patent "Holographic optical email display interfaces that use retinal focus for navigation" *Patent patent patent*

        Okay, I'm done. Now, when someone actually invents that, I own it because I thought of it first? How does that follow? I can sit around and pull stuff outta my ass all day long, do no more investment in
        • I think they still should have something. I mean, the "inventions" we're talking about here are nothign of the kind. They're just ideas with no practical anything behind them...Like, I'm going to patent "Holographic optical email display interfaces that use retinal focus for navigation" *Patent patent patent*

          Okay, I'm done. Now, when someone actually invents that, I own it because I thought of it first? How does that follow? I can sit around and pull stuff outta my ass all day long, do no more investment

          • And the slashbots all stand up and cheer while a big company lies, cheats, and bribes in order to steal a basement inventor's legacy from his widow.

            There isn't a part in any of the patent claims that isn't obvious now, and wasn't obvious fifteen years ago. The fact it was a "basement inventor" doesn't make the patent more worthy than one filed by a "big evil company".

            Obvious patents are bad.
          • All of which goes to prove that a conflict based exclusive rights patent system is inherently flawed and serve no useful purpose.

            An attribution system where incentive is granted as a government payout instead wouldnt be subject to the same problem; NTP wouldnt be able to block RIM's use; RIM wouldnt have a reason not to claim use of NTP's invention. RIM would simply report use of the invention, and the incentive would be paid.

            The whole system conflict is moved to the internals of the patent office instead;
      • by pizzaman100 (588500)
        If someone invents something for which the barriers to entry are too high - why shouldn't they be able to license it to the existing companies. Instead of the existing companies just waiting 3 years and then using the invention anyway.

        The problem is that it is not some guy tinkering in his garage that is getting and stockpiling patents. It's greedy IP firms. Maybe a compromise would be to allow individuals to sit on say X number of patents, but make it illegal for IP only firms to do the same thing. Thi

    • Re:patent squatting (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Contrary to popular belief, legal professionals generally know what they're doing. People practicing in the area of patent law usually understand the technology (more likely than not far better than the typical /. commenter) and the implications of the law on the technology well enough to formulate reasoned conclusions. While your point of view is one that is considered, perhaps what you don't know is how damages are calculated in a patent infringement case.

      In your scenario, a patentee without the capabil
      • I would say to that the patent is voided, but can be reapplied for after 18 months (sounds reasonable). The 'little guy' should be able to at least prove some *research* is involved based on the patent. E.g. patenting 'a computer neural interface' and sitting on it for years is ludicrous - it's still far outside the scope of modern technology. However, if the little guy has some reasonable idea of how to do it, and is doing real research* towards it, his patent can stand. This is sort of like tax laws:
      • "None of this would even be a question if the inventor hadn't patented it ... the invention simply wouldn't exist!"

        You see, this is why popular belief is against the legal professionals. It's because you say insane things like this.

        I also want to know where the little guy went, when the little guy independently invents something. Where, oh where, is the little guy argument? For some reason, the argument disappears.

        Yet the computer software industry is full of little guys, independently inventing, and then t
      • - None of this would even be a question if the inventor hadn't patented it ... the invention simply wouldn't exist!

        That's a fun hypothetical situation...but there were digital radio networks [aprs.net] a long time ago.

        I keep running into that...okay, I can see this compelling situation in which some guy spends years of work to come up with something decades ahead of its time, significantly advancing the state of the art. He doesn't have the resources to develop it, so he wants to go to a big company...but without pat
      • Re:patent squatting (Score:3, Informative)

        by Oloryn (3236)

        - None of this would even be a question if the inventor hadn't patented it ... the invention simply wouldn't exist!

        This is utter hogwash, particularly in the area of software, where independent invention is commonplace. Inventions don't cease to exist simply because someone fails to patent them. And while the possibility of patenting an invention may provide an additional incentive, it is hardly the sole necessary incentive to invention. It's not like the software industry went nowhere before an activ

    • Patent squatting should forfeit the rights to a patent after, say, 3 years if no progress has been made.

      And software patents shouldn't exist at all.
  • by nubbie (454788)
    I think the slashdot article is longer then the actual article being linked.
    • Re:heh (Score:3, Interesting)

      by engagebot (941678)
      Yeah, but in this case that doesn't matter. Today was the day, and all we needed to know was Blackberry staying or going.

      Thats big news a little before quitting time on a friday. Especially since its a long holiday weekend here (mardi gras). Getting the news that blackberries would be shut down or not just before a 4-day weekend was big deal to us.
  • I don't have a blackberry, but I've been waiting all morning for this news. I was wondering if the judge was going to shut down Blackberry service. I was thinking about how the government (or legislature) would respond if RIM was given 30 days to shut down their service. And hopefully it woulda been, a first step to the patent system being overhauled.

    Oh well. This is probably the better outcome.
    • What annoys me is that I read an article where the judge stated that he'd make sure there were provisions for the governemnt so RIM could continue service for them. I'd like to know what incredibly vital governemnt service is being supplied by BlackBerry email? Is the DoD depending on Blackberry email to keep this country safe? I think not.

      This is me understanding that shutting down the Blackberry service basicly only shuts down the unit's ability to send and receive email, but not make phone calls (pr

      • What annoys me is that I read an article where the judge stated that he'd make sure there were provisions for the governemnt so RIM could continue service for them. I'd like to know what incredibly vital governemnt service is being supplied by BlackBerry email?

        You seem to be under the mistaken impression that the government is subject to Law.
      • http://www.computerworld.com/mobiletopics/mobile/s tory/0,10801,108094,00.html [computerworld.com]

        If you're going to enforce the law, ENFORCE THE FUCKING LAW!! Don't make exceptions for government panseys who feel their operations will be hurt (oh, like other people aren't hurt? or are you special?) if Blackberry does get shut down.

        Does "a government for the people, by the people" ring any LIBERTY BELLS?
        • Although I have no idea which portions of government might use the service, yes, some parts are special.

          When you see those flashing red lights and hear the siren, for instance, you're required to pull over and let the firetruck get by, because it's special. I can certainly imagine portions of emergency services that would greatly benefit from a good text service.

      • A nice side effect of that bizzare clause is that the outcome does not affect the decision makers.

        If the outcome did affect the decision-makers, then they'd be inclined towards one side.

    • 1. The government won't react till the day the service is turned off.
      2. Then they'll look surprised
      3. Then they'll have a committee set up to investigate the issue
      4. On being blamed for lack of action, they'll feign ignorance and say they were not aware of the seriousness of the situation because it's not every day that RIM shuts its services off
      5. They'll say they'll treat this as learning experience
      6. They'll look into separating RIM from the DHS
      7. They'll find a scapegoat
      8. And then they'll wait for Ma
      • Your post is meant to be funny, but in fact there's a lot of evidence that RIM, finally learning to play power politics, has been effectively mobilizing congressmen to lean on the patent office to invalidate the patents to avoid losing their crackberries. RIM hired Washington lobbyists, and with a couple months the patent office fast-tracked a review of NTP's claims (something Microsoft couldn't even pull in it's patent case regarding plugins).
  • by PunkPig (738544) on Friday February 24, 2006 @04:54PM (#14796314)
    I could have gotten out of pager support this weekend.
  • I think of this: (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MtViewGuy (197597) on Friday February 24, 2006 @04:55PM (#14796328)
    The famous U.S. v. United Shoe Machinery Company case of 1941.

    United Shoe was caught abusing its patent portfolio to keep competitors at bay; this was the same rationale that got Rambus into a lot of trouble a few years back when courts said Rambus' patents on certain computer memory designs was used to keep DDR-SDRAM technology at bay in favor of Rambus' own RDRAM technology.

    In short, NTP was abusing US patent laws to keep a competitor at bay.
    • Nice try L1, but Rambus was (unfortunately perhaps) cleared. And NTP is not a competitor. It just holds the patent.
    • They're a patent holding company. They don't compete against *anyone*, they just patent shit.
    • They don't have a product. They don't have a market. They exist solely to be extortionists. They don't even have anything to use to extort anyone -- they have no valid patents!

      So they exist solely to sue trying to frighten people based on bullshit claims that have no logical or legal standing.
    • United Shoe was caught abusing its patent portfolio to keep competitors at bay;

      Isn't this what Macrovision does?

      1: Develop VCR copy-protection system that corrupts the video signal.
      2: Get movie studios to force its adoption in DVD players, satellite systems, and cable boxes.
      3: Patent every way they can think of for defeating their own system.
      4: Sue anyone who markets a system to fix the corrupted video signal for patent infringement.
      5: Profit!

    • You are confusing antitrust law with patent misuse/laches. International shoe's problem was that they required consumers to purchase unpatented products with patent products, thereby unlawfully extending their monopoly (in violation of Sherman section 1). Such "tying" agreements have long been prohibited. NTP is not engaging in unlawful "tying" because they dont sell anything period.

      The doctrine you are thinking of is "patent misuse" or "laches", which is entirely unrelated to antitrust law. Federal

  • I'm sure it's not a simplistic as my idea, but should RIM just have to pay license dues on the patents, and continue their service? Possibly the settlement could involve transfer of the system to NTP's control?
    • I'm sure it's not a simplistic as my idea, but should RIM just have to pay license dues on the patents, and continue their service?

      If the patents really are invalid, why should RIM have to pay license fees at all?

      I would assume that a final ruling will be delayed until after NTP's appeals.

    • by kfg (145172)
      Possibly the settlement could involve transfer of the system to NTP's control?

      Good Lord! The last thing in the world NTP wants is control of the system. They're just in it for the money.

      If they had control of the system they might actually have to do something like work to earn their living, instead of just buying, selling and litigating bits of paper. They much prefer being part of the something for nothing economy.

      KFG
      • If they had control of the system they might actually have to do something like work to earn their living, instead of just buying, selling and litigating bits of paper. They much prefer being part of the something for nothing economy.

        Who do you think NTP is? Its the widow of a basement inventor who tinkered with radios and electronics for most of his life. The numbers got out of hand only after RIM refused to pay reasonable licensing fees of roughly $4 million.

        • Who do you think NTP is? Its the widow of a basement inventor who tinkered with radios and electronics for most of his life. The numbers got out of hand only after RIM refused to pay reasonable licensing fees of roughly $4 million.

          See, here is the problem.

          I haven't gone through all of the patents, but the first, for instance, is basically for a device that sends email wirelessly (possibly with the ability to dock -- not certain how to read that tidbit).

          The justification for patents is that they will promote
  • Whoo Hoot (Score:4, Funny)

    by HeroSandwich (920245) on Friday February 24, 2006 @04:57PM (#14796339)
    SCREW NTP!! Rat bastards!

    Yay.. I mean what the hell.. I can't understand how you can patent an idea like e-mail / txt through a wireless device..

    Why what a great leap of logic for me to want to get my e-mail or stay in touch remotely.. however did the great minds at NTP think that up. Oh how did they ever come up with the idea.. Patent a very specific way to do something.. don't hand out patents for vauge ideas.

    I wonder if can patent and new way of doing business in which people give me money for services and or goods and I refuse to give them exact change. Then anyone who rounds up a coffee or newspaper will owe me a crap load of money!! Whoot.. where's the nearest Mercedes dealership!

    Stupid people.. I tell you.. back in my day AirWolf wouldn't have sorted this out in no time.

    Nothin is more AirWolf than AirWolf!
    • I can't understand how you can patent an idea like e-mail / txt through a wireless device..

      They didn't patent such a broad idea. They did however patent stuff related to how RIM chose to deliver email (a push method instead of a poll) to its wireless device.
      • They didn't patent such a broad idea. They did however patent stuff related to how RIM chose to deliver email (a push method instead of a poll) to its wireless device.

        Patent 5,625,670 [uspto.gov].

        Go down to Claim 1. I don't see where this claim says that the information is specifically transmitted without receiving a request from the wireless device.

        Besides...let's even assume that you're right.

        This is basically the same thing that any system with a mail server on it with a wireless connection running to that server w
        • Go down to Claim 1. I don't see where this claim says that the information is specifically transmitted without receiving a request from the wireless device.

          Start reading claim 20 (which is a subclaim of claim 4, which is a subclaim of claim 1) and go from there.

          This is basically the same thing that any system with a mail server on it with a wireless connection running to that server would do.

          That would be the intelligent way of doing it. But it isn't often the way it is done (and is one of the reasons why
    • I wonder if can patent and new way of doing business in which people give me money for services and or goods and I refuse to give them exact change.
      Move to France. Over there, a merchant is not legally obligated to give you change if he posts "Faites l'appoint" and you pay more than the charge...
    • You shouldn't be badmouthing the Network Time Protocol like that. It's only trying to help!
  • by anupamsr (910397)
    ...being in India, where I have yet to hear a patent case, I feel lucky :)
  • A pity... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by citizenklaw (767566)

    I'm generally against patents in software and in IT in general. But it would have pleased me so much to see Crackberry addicts suffering from withdrawal.

    There is no more annoying thing than sitting down in a roomful of people trying to make an argument about something important just to find all eyes downward towards those vile and evil devices. The meeting ends and you have to resend the information via email, wasting two good hours that could've been dedicated to other more worthy pursuits such as drin

  • Doesn't bother me (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dream1979 (946688) on Friday February 24, 2006 @05:20PM (#14796507)
    I personally would love to see the blackberries shut down. I work in a real estate agency and all the brokers use them. I would LOVE to see the havoc caused if these self-proclaimed "important people" cant get their messages on the spot. They really need to learn that not everything needs to be done 5 minutes ago.
    • I personally would love to see the blackberries shut down. I work in a real estate agency and all the brokers use them. I would LOVE to see the havoc caused if these self-proclaimed "important people" cant get their messages on the spot. They really need to learn that not everything needs to be done 5 minutes ago.

      I am with you on thatm but I can forsee a better result. A Blackberry shut-down would most likely result in a geometic increase in productivity. Instant communication devices lead to micro-mana

  • Looks like Microsoft won't be competing soon with RIM if they get past this one; MS plans of world domination will be held off for a while.
  • by rAiNsT0rm (877553) on Friday February 24, 2006 @05:50PM (#14796749) Homepage
    Not sure if folks realize it but most of the government relies on Blackberries, including many mission critical areas... I'm not seeing any judge ruling them out anytime soon. A number of these agencies have been working (unsuccessfuly) on trying to port their info over to another form from the Blackberry and it ain't happening.

    That is one company I see coming through all this with flying colors, or else they could make shit real bad for a lot of people.
  • Bummer. (Score:2, Funny)

    by SCHecklerX (229973)
    I was looking forward to the crackberry addicts at my company to actually begin paying attention in meetings and such again.
  • fountainhead (Score:2, Insightful)

    by braindead_in (933655)
    does anyone see a parallel?
  • What RIM should be doing in sending targeted messages to all their users with instructions on how to contact their Congressman if they want their Blackberry service to continue uninterrupted. Since likely every Congressman or their aides have a Blackberry as well, it shouldn't be hard to send them your opinions.
  • He knows better NOT to shut RIM down. I live near D.C. and I can tell you there would be major hell to pay if the service was shutdown. NTP would have the full weight of Congress and the FTC down their backsides so fast they won't know what hit them. And, there would be Patent Reform like you wouldn't believe. In fact, I'd love see ALL SOFTWARE PATENTS INVALIDATED. Patents were for physical objects only, not abstract ideas like software.
  • by nighty5 (615965) on Friday February 24, 2006 @07:43PM (#14797526)
    Lie by the sword, die by the sword.

    NTP should have acccepted RIM's first offer instead of being greedy.

    Nuff said.
    • Lie by the sword, die by the sword.

      Is that a just a typo? RIM was the one caught falsifying evidence during the trial.

      NTP should have acccepted RIM's first offer instead of being greedy.

      Actually, RIM should have accepted NTP's first offer (something like $4 million). Before NTP came along, RIM was ruthlessly using their own patents to drive competitors out of business. They refused to pay a reasonable license to NTP. So NTP said "screw you" and sued.

      Anyone who thinks that RIM is a bunch of good g

      • I'd somewhat agree with your analogy but I'm pretty much against the use of software patents with such a long shelf life. Such patents from NTP (and they arent the only ones) are frivilous and damaging to innovation.

        But don't let that stop you, this is similar to the Soviet Union & US arms race during the cold war. Each company has been battling to hold as many patents "WOMD" as possible to ensure "adequate" legal protection over their lines of business.

        The problem with RIM ackowledging defeat and payin
        • but I'm pretty much against the use of software patents with such a long shelf life

          I'm pretty much against the use of software patents, period.
  • ..... They continue to get to see crackberry addicts with RSI.
  • There was a point in history when RIM was sue-happy, claiming all these other companies were infringing on its patents:

    RIM sues Handspring, Good [com.com]

    RIM wins patent, sues rival [com.com]

    and from Lawsuits In Motion files suit against Xerox [theregister.co.uk]:

    Of course, it's all rather ironic given RIM's history of using the courts to challenge what it claims are other firms' attempts to cash in on its intellectual property. During the first quarter of its current fiscal year, the company - better known, perhaps, as Lawsuits In Motion

  • Every single politician, judge and goverment agency heads has a blackberry. Amazing how as soon as the suit seemed lost...every patent gets overturned. Amazing what friends in high places and a boat load of "contributions" can do.

    The ironic thing is that RIM has about 12 more months of having a useful product. After 12 months every single cell phone will connected to MS Exchange, IMAP, and SPOP directly. No more need for a big bulky BB.
  • Crap (Score:2, Insightful)

    ... and in a symbolic jesture, tens of thousands of system administrators threw their blackberry devices into the toilets of the world in disgust that bosses will continue to harass them at all hours of the day, night, weekend, or vacation day to perform even the most remedial of tasks. If you're not happy with the status quo, just go find yourself another job. What? The other job also expects you to instantly respond to every email without excuse as well?

    Not that there aren't a dozen other companies

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