The ongoing lawsuit of NTP against RIM keeps getting stranger. If you haven't been following it, RIM is the maker of the ridiculously popular Blackberry email device. NTP is a company that claims to hold patents on the concept of such an email device -- and they want RIM to be forced to stop selling the devices in the US or (obviously, what they'd prefer, since they don't actually sell a competing product or, well, make anything) license the patent from them. NTP has won a few rounds, though, a recent ruling said that RIM didn't need to turn off all of their pagers just yet. There was also a twist a few weeks ago when another company stepped up, claiming that NTP doesn't actually own the patents they claim they own. However, an even more bizarre issue may be that RIM has suddenly remembered one very important fact: the company is based in Canada. Also, the servers through which email passes to get to Blackberry devices are based in (you guessed it) Canada. The patent in question is (whoops) only supposed to apply to the US. Therefore, the argument goes, RIM is immune to the challenges, because they're not doing this stuff in the US -- even if the email eventually ends up in the US. It's an interesting legal claim, but it might not stand up in court. Still, if it does, expect other companies accused of patent infringement to do something similar. If someone accuses you of patent infringement, just move a server offshore and, voila, you're protected.
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