Moulton Lava

Moultonic Musings

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Location: New England, United States

Friday, February 24, 2006

RIM Shots

Users of the highly popular BlackBerry devices are biting their fingernails over a patent infringement lawsuit that is threatening to shut down the service.

Previously, a jury found that Research In Motion (RIM), the developer of the BlackBerry product, had infringed on nine technical patents held by NTP, a patent holding company.

In the meantime, the US Patent Office has had second thoughts about the disputed patents, and has been systematically reviewing them. One by one, at the snail's pace one would expect of a technical bureaucracy, the patent examiners have reversed themselves and ruled the NTP patents invalid, largely on the basis of 'prior art'.

The judge in the case is in a quandary. The parties refuse to settle, and the Patent Office is slowly pulling the rug out from under the case by invalidating the patents.

It's a good demonstration of just how useless our intellectual property laws are in the age of high technology.


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