The U.S. Patent and Trade Office has contacted both RIM and NTP to inform both companies that it will likely overturn all related NTP patents. This move is very unconventional for the Patent Office, but no doubt stems from the very public case which is putting the Patent Office itself in the spotlight of blame. If RIM is forced to pay $1B because they were held for ransom by bad patents, Techdirt has asked, "Can RIM sue the USPTO for a billion or more due to negligence?" The USPTO is worried that NTP is winning the court case based on what they now know to be bad patents, but patents which they mistakenly granted. Not only is this massively unfair to RIM, but the credibility of the entire intellectual property system in the US is in jeopardy. The move to publicly inform both parties of likely decisions is the USPTO's way of trying to force Judge Spencer to either throw out the case on lack of merit, or delay the court proceedings to give the patent rejection process time to follow its slow course. So the USPTO has turned the pressure up on Judge Spencer -- if he forces RIM to shutdown or pay-up based on what he now knows to be bad patents, he will look bad, not the USPTO. Don't you love it when two branches of your government pass the buck while the free market and the incentive to innovate are held hostage to them? Having read the patents, we sided with RIM from the start of this debacle. Isn't it time, now, to let this company get on with business?
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