Patent Infringement Could Leave RIM and Blackberry Users Everywhere, in the Dark
January 30, 2006 10:35 AM
NTP patents before the Blackberry's time has the company seeking to have Research in Motion stopped in its tracks
These days it's pretty rare to see people moving around without cell phones; it's just too difficult to survive without one it seems. Regardless of whether you have a cell phone or not, we're positive that there have been times where one would have made the day a whole lot better.
In the business world, communication is key and having the ability to communicate with partners and customers alike can make a huge difference between having a customer or losing to the competition. In the fast paced business world however, a cell phone just isn't enough. Thus we have the Blackberry -- Research in Motion's (RIM) wildly popular mobile text communicator. Sure it's a bit bigger than your typical cell phone, but it connects people who are on the go with their emails, office information, co-workers, and most importantly customers.
Imagine that business folks everywhere were using Blackberry devices -- which they are. But also imagine that the devices have become so well integrated into the lives of these business people that productivity has never been the same and the ease of staying in touch is so invaluable to them that RIM's devices have become the de facto standard in mobile business communications. Now imagine that RIM announced that's going to suddenly close its doors and cease all partnerships with cellular network providers.
This is something that could very well happen if Donald Stout and Thomas Campana Jr. have their way. In fact, Thomas Campana holds a list of patents that architect how to get computers and mobile devices to seamlessly communicate with each other using text messaging. Not only this, Mr. Stout's company, NTP Inc. has a legion of lawyers now on its side and are suing RIM.
So far, NTP is winning
Thomas Campana passed away in 2004 but still today the battle between NTP and RIM rages on even more so. NTP is claiming that it has had the patents for years prior to the introduction of the BlackBerry, and this is of course true. In RIM's defense, it claims that NTP and Mr. Stout are typical patent "trolls" who don't make use of inventions and instead incubate them in hopes that someone or some company will re-invite the same thing so that there will be a big potential for a lawsuit that would be worth a fortune -- not to mention the ultimate demise of the successful company.
Many people are now holding their breaths in the wait to see the outcome of this court-room debacle. Analysts are saying that the communications lawsuit between NTP and RIM is one of the biggest, if not
biggest in recent US history. Currently, NTP has already filed for an injunction to prevent RIM from further shipping its Blackberry devices. NTP is also hoping to either seek a large amount of ongoing royalties for the Blackberry which would no doubt increase their prices. Currently, RIM is facing damages in the hundreds of millions of dollars and this is only cash value. If NTP comes out on top, RIM, its employees, partners, developers and most importantly its customers everywhere will be looking at one big communications black-out.
"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet. A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis
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