Monday, March 06, 2006

NTP/RIM settlement to lead to patent reform?

Monstersandcritics cites to UPI which in turn cites to the Wall Street Journal:

NEW YORK, NY, United States (UPI) -- The settlement of a patent dispute between the maker of BlackBerrys and a tiny patent-holding firm is expected to lead to U.S. patent law reform.

Canada`s Research in Motion Ltd. agreed to pay NTP Inc. $612.5 million to settle litigation by NTP that RIM was infringing its patents to run its popular BlackBerry personal communication devices.

The size of the settlement -- which came despite the U.S. Patent Office revoking NTP`s patents -- has begun producing calls for updating U.S. patent law, The Wall Street Journal said Monday. [IPBiz note: the USPTO did NOT revoke NTP's patents; there was a rejection in a final Office Action (actually actions); a re-examination certificate, officially declaring the state of the patent CANNOT issue until all appeals are exhausted, and THAT is a long way off.]

'It won`t be too long before this brand of litigation triggers a backlash, in the form of patent reform,' said Matthew D`Amore, a patent lawyer with Morrison and Foerster.

Brad Smith, general counsel of Microsoft Corp., said: 'One lasting impact of the case is that it has turned patent litigation from simply a legal issue into a broader business, commercial and even an economic issue. If the lasting consequence of the case is to broaden awareness and promote the level of debate that we need to have about what it takes to have a healthy patent system, then there is a good side to that.' [IPBiz note: Microsoft is on the losing end of a $512 million case brought by Eolas. The Eolas patent, unlike the NTP patents, got through re-examination without any amendment. Smith's remarks should be construed in that context.]


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