Friday, June 17, 2005

RIM to design around NTP patents?

from Michael Singer of CNET:

Research In Motion has come up with a "workaround" to skirt patents at the center of its legal battle with NTP, and the technology could be used with all existing BlackBerry email devices, the firm's co-chief executive said on June 16.

"We've completed the workaround," RIM chairman and co-CEO Jim Balsillie told CNET's "We've tested it and we have a legal opinion on it. We have it as an option."

In a phone interview, Balsillie declined to give specifics on the technology, citing both companies' nondisclosure agreements and RIM's so-called quiet period prior to announcing its earnings.

Balsillie said he is prepared to win the long-running legal battle and was encouraged that the director of the U.S. Patent Trademark office asked that four of the five patents in dispute be reexamined--a process that could take years. [LBE note: the patents remain valid during re-exam.]

The Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM, which helped popularize mobile e-mailing with its thumb-operated BlackBerry, rattled investors earlier this month with news it failed to finalize a $450 million patent dispute settlement with closely held U.S.-based patent holding company NTP.

RIM has now asked a U.S. court to enforce the terms of the March deal. NTP opposes that and says the earlier deal did not constitute a meeting of minds.

In a court filing this week, RIM said the continued litigation "places a cloud of uncertainty" over its business and its ability to supply its technology.

"There's been an effort certainly by people to sort of cast uncertainty (on) our business and we don't want that. And that was part of the motivation for doing the original settlement," Balsillie said.


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