From the AP:
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, Jan. 23, refused to intervene in a messy patent lawsuit that could force the maker of the popular BlackBerry e-mail device to shut down or alter service in the USA.
BlackBerry maker Research In Motion had asked the Supreme Court to re-examine the reach of U.S. patent law, since RIM is based in Canada. As expected, the court refused.
The AP story also noted:
The case illustrates the need for patent reform, Stephen Maebius said. No one has accused RIM of stealing from NTP, but under U.S. law, a company can be guilty of infringement even if it didn't know about another patent.
The whole point of the patent system is to facilitate public disclosure of information that falls within the patent law's requirements of utility, novelty, and nonobviousness. Innovation moves faster if people read about the publicly disclosed information and act accordingly. Encouraging people to "not read" information and rediscover what has already been done is simply wasteful. Of course, people who infringe claims of a patent are found guilty, whether or not they knew about the patent.
There may be a design-around of the NTP patents:
RIM said it has a software workaround ready if NTP wins in court. Some customers are already testing it, according to Rob Sanderson of American Technology Research.