On Three, Everybody Cry For NTP

from the conveniently-ignoring-reality dept

Throughout this whole patent dispute between Research In Motion and NTP, there have been a couple of key points that remain unresolved. First, it's unclear how the patent process and resulting court case have helped innovation. Second, why a company that's never done any innovation -- just come up with an obvious idea and patent it -- should be rewarded. None of that's stopping NTP, though, which is now complaining that RIM's refusal to settle the case has caused it "substantial harm" because other companies are refusing to license its intellectual property as long as RIM holds out. This appeal is almost as pathetic as having the widow of NTP's founder mail her senators about the gross injustice being visited upon her, and it's typically misleading as well. The reason nobody wants to pay NTP probably has nothing to do with RIM, but rather the fact that it looks like the Patent Office will reject all of NTP's patents.


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  •  
    identicon
    Howard Plumley, Jan 18th, 2006 @ 9:12am

    NTP founder

    I may be wrong. It is my understanding that the deceased founder was in fact the engineer who worked out the process and patented his ideas and in proper american fashion waited for the 'good times'. Instead he died from 'stress' related problems. Now everybody talks about how 'obvious' it was. Ask Arthur C. Clarke about obvious patents. Even a good idea can't survive the process.

     

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      identicon
      pooopstainzmcgraw, Jan 18th, 2006 @ 9:24am

      Re: NTP founder

      You are wrong, the company was created by a group of VC's and lawyers that prayed for this day to come. The patent by the way is for sending text email to a pager. NTP is arguing that sending email to any device was their idea and therefore they deserve the cash.

      Hmmmm all those obvious ideas that could be turned into cash...

       

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        identicon
        steve-o, Jan 18th, 2006 @ 10:41am

        Re: NTP founder

        We were forwarding emails to our pagers as text messages as far back as 1998, and it was old hat then because it was so obvious.

        YAPAA: Yet Another Prior Art Anecdote.

         

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    •  
      identicon
      achacha, Jan 18th, 2006 @ 11:33am

      Re: NTP founder

      I was sending 43110 messages to my pager back in 1989... so sending text to a pages is pretty obvious to anyone with 1/4 functioning brain. But 1/4 functioning brain is a high water mark for an average VC/lawyer it seems.

       

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        identicon
        TriZz, Jan 18th, 2006 @ 12:55pm

        Re: NTP founder

        HAHAHAHA!!

        I remember 43110!
        143 = I love you.
        111447 12 11 0011116 = what r u doing

        God, those were the days.

        The advent of text messaging...

         

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  •  
    identicon
    pooopstainzmcgraw, Jan 18th, 2006 @ 9:14am

    NTP = TP

    They already got lucky with two of RIM's competitors (Goodberry) etc. I truly hope that NTP doesnt get a dime. These patent holding sloths that leach off real innovators need to be stopped.

    Although, it wont do RIM much good, their days are numberered with the Mobile push from Microsoft.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      dude, Jan 18th, 2006 @ 9:24am

      About

      By the way, all major US Universities are
      "patent holding sloths" in your definition.
      They manufacture nothing and they collect
      royalties on their "paper patents"
      And they've been doing it for quite a while before
      this NTP vs. RIM thing started.
      For some reason, nobody complained about this thing before. I am wondering why ?...

       

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      •  
        identicon
        Thomas, Jan 18th, 2006 @ 9:30am

        Re: About

        Except that major US Universites are actually innovating. That's what all the masters/PhD cantidates there do.
        I'm not defending the money-grubbing qualiaties of most Univerisity administrations, but at least their patents are non-obvious.

         

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        •  
          identicon
          dude, Jan 18th, 2006 @ 10:08am

          it this a joke ?

          "That's what all the masters/PhD cantidates there do"
          HA-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-..............
          BHa-ha- ha ha ---------
          Har-HAR-HAR-ahr ----------Ha...........
          (From a person with one Ph.D. and two MS degrees from top US universities...)
          Ok. I managed to recover..
          get real, man, Those things are fucking broken.
          Academic career today is just a "publish-or-perish" experience in a race to get a tenure...

           

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    identicon
    Larry Borsato, Jan 18th, 2006 @ 10:57am

    Obvious?

    Yes we were sending emails to our pagers as far back as 1998. Yet the NTP patents in question were filed in 1991, and cover sending email to wireless mobile devices. Perhaps they weren't so obvious back then, and that is why the patents were granted. The fact that they are obvious now is inconsequential.

    I notice through all of this that RIM is not arguing that they didn't infringe the patents, just that it doesn't matter if they did.

    It doesn't matter if NTP doesn't build anything. You don't have to build what you invent, you just need the Patent Office to agree that it qualifies. If it did in 1991, why doesn't it now.

    I hold patents personally, and I'd be pretty upset is the Patent Office suddenly reversed them all.

     

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      Mike (profile), Jan 18th, 2006 @ 11:06am

      Re: Obvious?

      Yes we were sending emails to our pagers as far back as 1998. Yet the NTP patents in question were filed in 1991, and cover sending email to wireless mobile devices. Perhaps they weren't so obvious back then, and that is why the patents were granted. The fact that they are obvious now is inconsequential.

      The argument many have made is that NTP's patents are really just combining two things that already existed -- and thus have little support for patent protection.

      If "wireless email" is patentable, is it okay if people patented wireless internet access, wireless map viewing, wireless shopping, etc? Just because you take something and move it to "wireless" doesn't make it patentable.

      Besides, the USPTO seems to have recognized that there was significant prior art before the NTP patents.


      It doesn't matter if NTP doesn't build anything. You don't have to build what you invent, you just need the Patent Office to agree that it qualifies. If it did in 1991, why doesn't it now.


      Indeed, but is that a good thing? That's part of the discussion.

      I hold patents personally, and I'd be pretty upset is the Patent Office suddenly reversed them all.

      Not clear what that has to do with anything. If the gov't granted me a monopoly on something and later took it away, I'd be mighty pissed off too... but that doesn't mean squat for this discussion. If the patents aren't valid then who cares if you're pissed off about it? Reversing them is the right thing to do.

       

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        identicon
        Larry Borsato, Jan 19th, 2006 @ 5:05pm

        Re: Obvious?

        Good points, but combining two things in a new, unique, and non-obvious way is still patentable. RIM has a patent on a keyboard on a mobile device, a patent they have protected in and infringement suit at least once. Isn't that obvious?

        A jury ruled that RIM willfully infringed the patents. RIM failed to cooperate with the court throughout the process. RIM is not claiming they don't infringe. They just don't want to pay.

         

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          icon
          Mike (profile), Jan 19th, 2006 @ 6:51pm

          Re: Obvious?

          Good points, but combining two things in a new, unique, and non-obvious way is still patentable. RIM has a patent on a keyboard on a mobile device, a patent they have protected in and infringement suit at least once. Isn't that obvious?

          Yes, I think it's obvious, and we've trashed RIM in the past for being overly agressive with their own patent portfolio. Not sure what you thought you just proved, but it seems to support my argument. :)

          A jury ruled that RIM willfully infringed the patents. RIM failed to cooperate with the court throughout the process. RIM is not claiming they don't infringe. They just don't want to pay.

          You mean the same patents that the USPTO has now admitted they granted incrrectly. Why do you keep forgetting that very important fact? "They just don't want to pay" because though don't think they did anything wrong -- and the USPTO seems to agree with them.

           

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