RIM, NTP Settle Their Differences -- For $612.5 Million

from the innovation-rewarded-indeed dept

As expected, RIM has settled its patent suit with NTP by paying the company $612.5 million to settle all the claims against it, and for a full license of NTP's patents. Certainly RIM is glad to get this behind it, also noting today that the uncertainty of the case's outcome will hit the current quarter's earnings. The license covers all of NTP's patents, and puts not only RIM, but also its carrier and device partners in the clear. While the court case against RIM has been dismissed, the one thing that nobody's talking about is what will happen should the Patent Office finally reject all of NTP's patents and its appeals prove fruitless -- does RIM gets its $600 million back and an "I'm sorry"? Update by Mike: Looks like the Wall Street Journal is one of the few who actually found out about what happens down the road -- and have updated the link above to say there is no contingency for return payments or a new lawsuit, should the USPTO eventually find the patents invalid -- as has been looking increasingly likely. In fact, RIM's Jim Balsillie says he would have paid more to have such a contingency, but it appears NTP wasn't interested (suggesting that even they know how weak their stance is on these patents). The overall deal may have made business sense in the end for RIM (whose stock is way up, and whose sales will likely improve without the uncertainty over its head), but it's highlighted in very real terms what a travesty the patent system has become these days. The company that does nothing gets rich and the company that innovated is slowed down.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
    identicon
    Robert Scott, Mar 3rd, 2006 @ 2:46pm

    "Doing stuff" that is "patentable"

    Congratulations! But why?

     

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  2.  
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    Rich Man, Mar 3rd, 2006 @ 4:27pm

    I get the money...

    If the patents are rejected, I'll get all the money. I'm going to build a really nice new patio with it.

     

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  3.  
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    Crazy!~, Mar 3rd, 2006 @ 4:35pm

    No Subject Given

    Is it me, or is this patent stuff way way waaaaaaaaay out of hand. I'm a bit embarrassed to be an American right now... We've totally crossed the line with big buisness, RIAA, secret Bush Wiretaps and the like... what did I fight for again? Why do I wear the scars of battle? None of this is the U.S. I'm so proud of. I vote, I write to our leaders, I donate money to people who fight for our rights, and I've served this country in battle, it seems to no end... Now I'm ashamed.

     

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  4.  
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    Rikko, Mar 3rd, 2006 @ 4:36pm

    Re: I get the money...

    If that were the case, you'd better have a good reason for not inviting me to the party.

     

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  5.  
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    Rim Shot, Mar 3rd, 2006 @ 5:28pm

    Just try to get the money...

    They agreed to pay the money. But who says they will?

    Rim will withold payment, or pay small amounts until NTP gets fed up and has to sue them to get licence money for patents at which time they will no longer own.

    Clever of Rim...

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 3rd, 2006 @ 5:31pm

    Re: No Subject Given

    My apologies but this idea was patented already a few years ago. Can I have your lawyers contact info?

     

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  7.  
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    Jack Black, Mar 3rd, 2006 @ 5:33pm

    Re: No Subject Given

    ya right...another one who has no clue of the big picture. People have opinions about things as if they were walking in that persons shoes, seeing what they're seeing and experiencing what they're experiencing.
    If Americans have a fault, it's each one thinking that they and theirs are the only ones who could possibly be right about everything. Everyone else in their opinion are idiots.

     

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  8.  
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    kingmanor, Mar 3rd, 2006 @ 5:48pm

    Carlo is Right!

    Yes RIM already put this money in escrow, so they already accounted for its loss on their books. And when the Patent Office finally rejects all of the patents, they will sue to get the money back, and win.

     

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  9.  
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    Blender, Mar 3rd, 2006 @ 6:36pm

    Re: No Subject Given

    WOW!!! That was mean to say!! RIM is not even from america, they are from Canada. Which reminds me of a joke... How was Canada named?

    Well, a couple of Kanooks were setting around drinking beer, and said... C, eh, N, eh, D, eh...Okay, I thought it was funny :o)

     

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  10.  
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    Mark Fox, Mar 3rd, 2006 @ 6:47pm

    No Subject Given

    If the patents are rejected RIM doesn't get anything back!
    From CNET
    The agreement involves a one-time payment to NTP, RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie said during a Friday afternoon conference call. Even if the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office eventually overturns NTP's patents, NTP will not have to repay the $612.5 million. "There is no provision for the PTO re-exam. This is a full and final settlement," he said.

     

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  11.  
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    Mousky, Mar 3rd, 2006 @ 8:19pm

    No Subject Given

    Lawyers typically retain 30% of a settlement. So any lawyers retained by NTP will get $180 million defending a lawsuit that should have never gotten this far in the first place. This RIM-NTP patent dispute has been getting a lot of attention in other blogs and websites. Arnold Kling of EconLog two excellent posts on this topic:

    Fair or Foul?

    The Blackberry Patent Dispute

     

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  12.  
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    Beck, Mar 3rd, 2006 @ 10:39pm

    Repayment

    The original settlement for $450 million fell apart because RIM wanted a provision to get their money back if the patents were rejected.

     

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  13.  
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    OBM (profile), Mar 4th, 2006 @ 12:16am

    Re: Repayment

    this whole case sucks. RIM should be in a position to sue the US Patent Office for material adverse effects on their business as well as the judge in this case for consistantly ignoring the ongoing rejection of the very patents that are critical to the case.
    Either way RIM has lost out on a lot of business, and it's very bad especially with MS starting to cut their grass with direct push mail capabilities in Exchange and now in Windows Mobile devices (tried the new AKU2 ROM upgrade for my HTC Wizard that includes this, and it works great)

     

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  14.  
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    RevMike, Mar 4th, 2006 @ 7:17am

    Re: No Subject Given

    Is it me, or is this patent stuff way way waaaaaaaaay out of hand. I'm a bit embarrassed to be an American right now... We've totally crossed the line with big buisness, RIAA, secret Bush Wiretaps and the like... what did I fight for again? Why do I wear the scars of battle? None of this is the U.S. I'm so proud of. I vote, I write to our leaders, I donate money to people who fight for our rights, and I've served this country in battle, it seems to no end... Now I'm ashamed.

    What are you talking about? Big business? This is a victory for the little guy over big business.

    Tom Campagna, a small businessman/inventor, built this technology in the late 80s and tried to market it. Email wasn't even generally used at that point and cell phones were still pretty rare. His company, ESA (an engineering firm with about 30 employees at its peek), went under and he was allowed to keep the patents as part of the liquidation.

    Now RIM, a billion dollar company, comes along and uses his innovations. He attempts to open a dialog and is ignored because RIM is too busy driving their competitors out of business with their own patent portfolio. He's forced to sue because otherwise RIM won't even return his phone calls.

    RIM then uses all sorts of chicanery to try to undermine his case. RIM tries to prove their was prior art, but commits perjury when it presents equipment developed after Campagna's patent and tells everyone it was developed before Campagna developed his system.

    Finally, RIM hires everyone they can in Washington to put political pressure on the PTO.

    Fortunately the judge saw through it all, and court refused to buckle under to the pressure of the big business.

     

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  15.  
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    CCC to the B, Mar 4th, 2006 @ 8:54am

    WTF

    I have a blackberry and had a RIM and they are great.. I guess they will stay in biz

     

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  16.  
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    QuantumMechanic, Mar 4th, 2006 @ 10:32am

    Re: No Subject Given

    Your intelligence is so becoming.

     

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  17.  
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    Rich Man, Mar 4th, 2006 @ 11:03am

    Re: I get the money...

    oh you're invited, Rikko. your hot sister can come and bring her glasses and shoes too.

     

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  18.  
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    Mike (profile), Mar 4th, 2006 @ 6:41pm

    Re: No Subject Given

    RevMike's comments are misleading at best.

    Tom Campagna, a small businessman/inventor, built this technology in the late 80s and tried to market it. Email wasn't even generally used at that point and cell phones were still pretty rare. His company, ESA (an engineering firm with about 30 employees at its peek), went under and he was allowed to keep the patents as part of the liquidation.

    In other words, he built something and couldn't figure out how to make it useful to the market. He failed to innovate. He went out of business as he should have.

    Now RIM, a billion dollar company, comes along and uses his innovations. He attempts to open a dialog and is ignored because RIM is too busy driving their competitors out of business with their own patent portfolio. He's forced to sue because otherwise RIM won't even return his phone calls.

    No, RIM came along and did a ton of research on their own and came up with the idea entirely independently from Campagna. It's true that RIM was obnoxious with their own patent portfolio, so perhaps they had this coming -- but it's completely wrong to say that RIM "used his innovation."

    You also ignore the fact that the patents are almost clearly invalid -- not because of political pressure, but because there was prior art.

    RIM then uses all sorts of chicanery to try to undermine his case. RIM tries to prove their was prior art, but commits perjury when it presents equipment developed after Campagna's patent and tells everyone it was developed before Campagna developed his system.

    Uh. No. Again that's wrong. RIM did screw up in presenting the prior art -- which was their own mistake. But that doesn't negate the fact that there WAS prior art and the patent itself (wireless email) is for an obvious idea.

    Finally, RIM hires everyone they can in Washington to put political pressure on the PTO.

    Uh. And why would the patent office care? The USPTO is pretty resistant to lobbying/political pressure due to the fact that they make a ton of money and don't need to beg the gov't for budget.

    Fortunately the judge saw through it all, and court refused to buckle under to the pressure of the big business.

    In other words, the company that failed to actually innovate gets $600 million for FAILING, while the company that actually did something and actually figured out the markret.

    This is a good outcome? Sorry...

     

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  19.  
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    angry dude, Mar 4th, 2006 @ 7:28pm

    Mike's comments

    Mike, every time I read your comments about whatever patent-related I am just amazed how ignorant and biased you are...
    For God's sake, "failed in the market" DOES NOT equal "failed to innovate".
    Otherwise, what do you think all the leading US universities are doing , are they failing to innovate ? According to you they are...
    Campana was just a little too early and he lacked the resources and connections of Mike Lazaridis, so what ?
    Not every bright kid just out of college (well, Mike Lazaridis actually dropped out before graduation just like Bill Gates) can get a GE contract for 600,000 $ as that RIM guy did...
    For Christ sake, I had a GPA 4.0 all the way to my Ph.D. but still had to accept a traditional hose job in the hands of those sleazy CEOs and their greedy lawyer pals...
    Life is just not fair to a little guy without connections, but sometimes a little guy takes those corporate crooks to the cleaner's
    This is a GOOD thing for America, believe me...

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Ron, Mar 4th, 2006 @ 8:22pm

    Re: Mike's comments

    "The company that does nothing gets rich and the company that innovated is slowed down."

    Oh give us a break, Mike. NTP/Campana innovated.. he came up with the idea first.

    So what if he held onto the idea and did nothing with it? Since he thought of it first, that's his perogative to do so. Apparently a federal jury also agreed some years ago.

    Why should a company who decides to make a product or service, based on someone else's idea, be granted immunity from a prior patent holder just because they achieved 'market share' with it? What if someone stole the idea of Techdirt, called it 'Techdirt2', lured away your advertisers, user community and your staff to work for them? I'd bet, once the tables were turned, you'd be singing a much different tune.

    Regarding RIM, it's really their problem their bungling legal department didn't conduct proper patent research beforehand. They should have taken due diligence in researching BEFORE they committed to manufacturing any product based on prior art.

    It is unfortunate Campana is no longer around to experience the fruits of his labors.. however, his partner and estate still have a legal claim.

    "Mike, every time I read your comments about whatever patent-related I am just amazed how ignorant and biased you are..."

    Nuff said.

     

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  21.  
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    Mike (profile), Mar 4th, 2006 @ 9:41pm

    Re: Mike's comments

    Oh give us a break, Mike. NTP/Campana innovated.. he came up with the idea first.

    We've gone over this a thousand times. There's a BIG difference between innovation and invention. Coming up with the idea is invention -- and there's plenty to question about whether or not he really "came up with the idea."

    INNOVATION, however, is ALL about being able to successfully bring a product to market. In this case he FAILED to innovate, because he couldn't come up with a product people would buy.


    So what if he held onto the idea and did nothing with it? Since he thought of it first, that's his perogative to do so. Apparently a federal jury also agreed some years ago.


    Yeah, that's his perogative, but THAT'S THE PROBLEM. It doesn't encourage actual innovation. In encourages patenting and waiting for someone else to innovate. The point of the patent system is to encourage innovation.

    Why should a company who decides to make a product or service, based on someone else's idea, be granted immunity from a prior patent holder just because they achieved 'market share' with it?

    Because they're the ones who ACTUALLY ADDED VALUE by making it worth buying.

    What if someone stole the idea of Techdirt, called it 'Techdirt2', lured away your advertisers, user community and your staff to work for them? I'd bet, once the tables were turned, you'd be singing a much different tune.

    Well, first, that would be trademark infringement, creating confusion in the market. However, we have plenty of competitors, and we don't whine about intellectual property -- we COMPETE in the market by being better.

    If someone else wants to copy our business model, more power to them. It will keep us innovating as well by forcing us to continue to improve.

    So, no, you're flat out wrong. We'd have no problem if someone competed with us. If anything, it would validate our model.


    Regarding RIM, it's really their problem their bungling legal department didn't conduct proper patent research beforehand. They should have taken due diligence in researching BEFORE they committed to manufacturing any product based on prior art.


    Uh, no. Why should they have to conduct a patent search if they had a good idea on their own. They didn't take the idea, they came up with it on their own (suggesting the patents shouldn't have been granted in the first place, since they were obvious). By saying the problem was they hadn't done a patent search is ridiculous and goes against the whole point of the patent system. It's basically saying no one can innovate if someone else was there first.

     

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  22.  
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    anthony, Mar 4th, 2006 @ 10:08pm

    now if only I could have quotes...

    Now if they would just server quotes from bigcite.com the world would be perfect!

     

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  23.  
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    angry dude, Mar 4th, 2006 @ 10:22pm

    Re: Mike's comments


    >The point of the patent system is to encourage innovation.
    The point of the patent system is to encourage public disclosure of new and useful INVENTIONS by providing a limited time property right in the invention called patent.
    And believe me, as much as some people like you hate patents, this country would be a living hell without properly functioning patent system.
    Imagine what kind of non-compete agreement you would have to sigh to get employed by e.g. Microsoft or better yet Phiser.
    Engineers and scientists would be chained to their employers without much pay - just like slavery. Otherwise what would stop anybody to go work for a competitor if there is no property right in the invention which can be assigned to the employer ?
    And no VC would invest a dime in anything if there is no legal right to protect that anything from free-riders.
    People like you, Mike, suggest silly solutions without thinking much about the long-term consequences.
    Yes, patents can suck big time, but there is no replacement for them, nothing that I know about...

     

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  24.  
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    Mike (profile), Mar 4th, 2006 @ 11:29pm

    Re: Mike's comments

    The point of the patent system is to encourage public disclosure of new and useful INVENTIONS by providing a limited time property right in the invention called patent.

    The point of the patent system is clearly laid out to promote innovation.

    And believe me, as much as some people like you hate patents, this country would be a living hell without properly functioning patent system.

    That can be questioned. As we've discussed repeatedly, countries have increased innovation when doing away with their patent system. So, your claims don't neccessarily hold true.

    Imagine what kind of non-compete agreement you would have to sigh to get employed by e.g. Microsoft or better yet Phiser.
    Engineers and scientists would be chained to their employers without much pay - just like slavery.


    I don't see why either of those things would be true.

    And no VC would invest a dime in anything if there is no legal right to protect that anything from free-riders.

    Those would be dumb VCs then. As VC Greg Bonder recently pointed out in Business Week, the value of most startups has nothing to do with their patents. It's their ability to compete in the market place.

    People like you, Mike, suggest silly solutions without thinking much about the long-term consequences.

    I've discussed the long-term consequences repeatedly. Just because you refuse to listen/understand doesn't mean I haven't thought them through.

    Yes, patents can suck big time, but there is no replacement for them, nothing that I know about...

    And, because you can't think of anything, there can't be anything? Sorry.

     

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  25.  
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    angry dude, Mar 4th, 2006 @ 11:48pm

    Re: Mike's comments

    Greg Bonder's article was PRO-patent, not anti-patent, in case you don't remember.
    He just stated that patent system needs to be better implemented to truly serve its intended purpose, which is "to promote the progress".
    Progress is only promoted when people publicly disclose their inventions, otherwise people would still invent, but keep their inventions secret, just like in the middle ages...

     

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  26.  
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    giafly, Mar 5th, 2006 @ 6:48am

    Calling angry dude

    Re: Progress is only promoted when people publicly disclose their inventions, otherwise people would still invent, but keep their inventions secret.

    1) Suppose I invent a better mousetrap. Please explain how I could keep this secret and still make money by selling it in shops?
    Surely, regardless of whether patents exist or not, I would have to let people see the product?

    2) How do you explain the success of Open-Source software, which promotes progress by free sharing and is opposed to patents?

     

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  27.  
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    angry dude, Mar 5th, 2006 @ 7:07am

    Re: Calling angry dude

    >1) Suppose I invent a better mousetrap. Please >explain how I could keep this secret and still >make money by selling it in shops?
    >Surely, regardless of whether patents exist or >not, I would have to let people see the product?
    Yeah, for a mousetrap you are out of luck without patents. For other things though, trade secrets do work and are a viable alternative to patents. This includes closed-source software.
    >2) How do you explain the success of Open->Source software, which promotes progress by >free sharing and is opposed to patents?
    much of the Open Source is just trivial software development by amateurs. It does not promote any progress computer-science wise.
    Are you aware of any important breakthroughs coming from open-source community (e.g. on the scale of public key encryption, RSA ) ?
    Have you seen any good open-source speech recognition software ?
    Linux itself is just a trivial re-implementation of Unix. It is not an invention. Just cloning of already developed commercial products..
    Now open-source guys will start throwing stones at me...

     

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  28.  
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    not quite so angry dude, Mar 5th, 2006 @ 8:15am

    Re: Calling angry dude

    This thread has deteriorated in to half thought out arguments and shear stupidity... so maybe I'll add a bit of my own :-)For those who don't understand Techdirt Mikes point: Many tech writers and thinkers back to antiquity have written and imagined things they could never possibly have built or brought to market, should they have been given a patent on them? Should science fiction writers from the 50's be given a patent of jetpacks and flying cars? Why would anyone ever make them then? The History channel has a great series once a week about ancient technology. They show tech that the ancients had that weren't seen again until the preindustrial revolution. Automatic doors, elevator, water fountains, simple computers, one inventor even made a steam engine over 2000 years ago fo effs sake. Perhaps this shouldn't be claimed as prior art, but Imagine any of them had been able to patent their work. Given the current state of the uspo, someone would have tried to stop the progress of the modern companies who made modren versions of all of these things. I won't say they would have been successful, but can you imagine where we'd be technologically if the preindustrial revolution companies who made use of modern machinery had to wage a long expensive court battle? I imagine they'd have been stuck in their tracks and technology would have move much much slower. We wouldn't have even half of what we have today...

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2006 @ 9:48am

    Re: important open-source software

    Open-Source Apache basically runs the Internet, with a 68% market share. This even seems to include www.techdirt.com. Also Open-Source Linux runs Google and most of the world's super-computers. You mention speech, which is not my area, but there seems to be a wide choice. This certainly sounds like promoting progress computer-science wise! For more information on Open Source software, start with SourceForge.

    Now, let's see you back up your arguments with some links to evidence.

     

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  30.  
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    giafly, Mar 5th, 2006 @ 9:55am

    Re: important open-source software

    My previous comment was directed to "angry dude" - I pressed the wrong button.

    "Not quite so angry dude" makes an excellent point "Should science fiction writers from the 50's be given a patent of jetpacks and flying cars?". This is something that has often occurred to me when reading recent patents about computer inventions that have not yet been implemented. This seems to be exactly the sort of thing that's happening in a lot of cases.

     

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  31.  
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    Ron, Mar 5th, 2006 @ 11:28am

    Re: Calling angry dude

    "Should science fiction writers from the 50's be given a patent of jetpacks and flying cars?"

    No, they should not, if they did not apply for one. However, anyone can take any of those ideas and apply for the patent. They can do it right now at this very moment while they're reading this, if no prior patent has been issued. Once the patent is granted, the idea becomes theirs, regardless of whether they thought of it or not.

    The game is all about who makes it to the patent office first. If it was your own idea, then chances are good you'll be first to patent. If it wasn't your idea and you acquired it through other means, then lady luck has smiled upon you. Too bad for the inventor.

    Look. Every inventor in their right mind should already know at this point.. the absolute first thing you do is apply for the patent, which provides legal protection for your invention/idea. Failing to apply for this protection is at your own peril and/or stupidity, and in not doing so you then assume all risk in having your idea 'acquired' and patented by someone else, at any time.

     

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  32.  
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    angry dude, Mar 5th, 2006 @ 11:50am

    Re: Calling angry dude

    Stupidity and silly arguments are all yours, not mine...
    But I can fix some of your twisted notions with some hard facts...
    >Should science fiction writers from the 50's be >given a patent of jetpacks and flying cars?
    Perhaps you don't know, but Arthur Clark first proposed idea of geostationary communications satellite - an idea certainly worthy of a patent by any standard.
    He pretended to regret about not patenting it, but actually he was smart enough to see that a 20 year patent term won't do it - by the time it is possible to launch such a satellite into orbit the patent would long expire...
    Another example is laser: There are at least 2 major patents on this: Townes's patent and Gould's patent. The Towne's patent issued quickly and by the time lasers were mass manufacturtee almost expired - the total roylaties collected were a meager 1 mil. Gould's patent was delayed by the PTO (none of it was Gould's fault) by 17 years.
    So when laser manufacturers learned about just issued patent and request for royalties 17 years after laser ibvention they just went nuts, and the laser patent war started...
    Read about it, it's a facinating story...

     

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  33.  
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    not quite so angry dude...ok maybe a bit more angr, Mar 5th, 2006 @ 1:04pm

    Re: Calling angry dude

    You cite some interesting examples which I will check out later when I have time, but you seem to miss my point. Certainly the Arthur Clark comment covers the ancient inventors - clearly any patent protection would have expired far too long ago to have stopped modern progress. It doesn't however cover the NTP vs RIM debacle. Regardless of how much thought NTP put into the idea, the fact is nothing was built, RIM didn't steal NTP algorithims or schematics or loot their braintrust when the company went under. Mobile email is and was an OBVIOUS idea that RIM came up with on its own. It should never have been patented in the first place. In fact I'm pretty sure the intent behind the creation of the PTO was to protect actual products in their various forms NOT ideas...

     

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  34.  
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    Mike (profile), Mar 5th, 2006 @ 5:31pm

    Re: Calling angry dude

    Wow. There's an awful lot wrong in Ron's statements.

    No, they should not, if they did not apply for one. However, anyone can take any of those ideas and apply for the patent. They can do it right now at this very moment while they're reading this, if no prior patent has been issued. Once the patent is granted, the idea becomes theirs, regardless of whether they thought of it or not.

    This is false. It's not just about prior art that's been patented -- but prior art period, and that can include something like the ideas that SciFi writers came up with. They can be used to invalidate a patent.

    The game is all about who makes it to the patent office first. If it was your own idea, then chances are good you'll be first to patent. If it wasn't your idea and you acquired it through other means, then lady luck has smiled upon you. Too bad for the inventor.

    This is false. While the US is looking at switching to a "first to file" system, they currently have a "first to invent" system -- so even if you're first to the patent office, it doesn't really matter. Large parts of the rest of the world *do* use first to file, but not the US.


    Look. Every inventor in their right mind should already know at this point.. the absolute first thing you do is apply for the patent, which provides legal protection for your invention/idea. Failing to apply for this protection is at your own peril and/or stupidity, and in not doing so you then assume all risk in having your idea 'acquired' and patented by someone else, at any time.


    While you're already wrong on most of these points, the real issue isn't how the system works, but whether or not it's doing what it intended to do and that's encourage innovation. If it's not, then that's a problem.

     

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  35.  
    identicon
    someone, Mar 6th, 2006 @ 12:26am

    Re: No Subject Given

    I think you need to watch CBC's Talking to Americans

     

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  36.  
    identicon
    plawler, Mar 6th, 2006 @ 12:30am

    Re: important open-source software

    Umm... well... in a word... no.

    Even if said science fiction writers had applied for patents, they would be out of luck. Before June 8, 1995, patents typically had 17 years of patent life from the date the patent was issued.

    This is 2006, so no patent from the 50s would still be valid.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Alex, Mar 6th, 2006 @ 1:29am

    First to {file|invent}: difference is not what it

    While the US is looking at switching to a "first to file" system, they currently have a "first to invent" system -- so even if you're first to the patent office, it doesn't really matter.
    The difference between the two systems only matters in the case of two or more people thinking of the same invention independently, and filing it at the patent office independently. [This seems to be an unlikely scenario which if it happened should raise questoins about whether the patent should be granted at all.] Prior art invalidates a patent under both systems.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Mar 6th, 2006 @ 1:35am

    Re: First to {file|invent}: difference is not what

    The difference between the two systems only matters in the case of two or more people thinking of the same invention independently, and filing it at the patent office independently. [This seems to be an unlikely scenario which if it happened should raise questoins about whether the patent should be granted at all.] Prior art invalidates a patent under both systems.

    I didn't mean to imply any differently. Sorry if I did.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2006 @ 8:18am

    No Subject Given

    As a second generation patent auther, I can tell you, Of Course the patent system is broken.

    First of all, the patent database is obsolete. It is mostly public, so you can go look for yourself. Patents are notorious for opaque style and overblown claims. There may be hundreds patents referencing your interest, quite a few claiming them, and none addressing them.

    Secondly, finding these bad patents has negative value. Accidental infringement is a less serious legal infraction and unlikely to _ever_ be uncovered. So the smart cookies purposely avoid looking. And this means the public is unlikely to ever read or benefit from even the few good patent filings.

    Have you ever found any design information you could actually use in the patent system? If so, chime in. Otherwise go "help" someone else.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Simon, Mar 6th, 2006 @ 8:21am

    Re: Mike's comments

    What does your GPA have to do with innovation and products that people want?

    I got a Computer Science degree and had a lower but good GPA. Some of the 3.9-4.0 GPA people in my Dept. went to work for firms that went bust during Dot.Com era. When I asked them what the company was building they said, well I'm not really sure, but the people are really "smart". I replied that if the product was good and well thought out the company would have survived and your pay checks would not have bounced.

    I have had no problem getting good jobs even during post dot.com era. and work with smart people but have never had a firm ask my GPA (this includes two fortune 100 firms that I have worked and currently work for).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Louis, Mar 7th, 2006 @ 3:18am

    Re: No Subject Given by RevMike et.al.

    I am with Mike on this one. The idea that anyone can come up with an idea, patent it, wait twenty years, and then sue people who came up with the same idea and made money from it, is just fundamentally wrong. Even more so when the idea is something as general as "wireless e-mail".

    Nothing about this case has anything to do with idea protection, it has everything to do with greed. Acts like this stunts the growth of technology and ultimately the growth of the human race.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    angry dude, Mar 7th, 2006 @ 7:32am

    Re: No Subject Given by RevMike et.al.

    With all due respect, you are an idiot, sir...
    You see, I have some other things to do but I am spending time here explaining some very basic facts you can read about elsewhere, but for some reason you don't want to - you already have a wrong picture of the world in your head.
    Patent applications are published after 18 months.
    This means they are fully accessible at www.uspto.gov from anywhere in the world.
    In this situation , in order for somebody to claim that he independently came up with the same idea (of course, I am talking about non-obvious ideas) you would need to institute some kind of a mind reading law..
    Better yet, a polygraph test.
    Even better, a torture chamber to get the truth out of a person... Do you want any of this ?
    While it is true that the majority of issued patent are for some pretty obvious things (and guess who holds those junk patent - all the big corps whining the most about small inventors) some patents are truly novel and non-obvious.
    Once such a novel and non-obvious idea is out, it is out. If any fool can claim any already published idea for himself, the world would be a mess... Just think about it if you still can think...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    Daniel, Mar 12th, 2006 @ 1:18am

    I have an idea for a great new product. It seems pretty obvious to me, but I've looked around, and nobody is selling it. Should I

    1) patent it, wait for other people to build similar products, then sue them for a share of their profits?

    2) start making and selling the product. Sure, some big company will soon copy my idea and make millions, but in the meantime, I will have made some money.

    Ron says at 2006-03-04 20:22:01 ...

    Regarding RIM, it's really their problem their bungling legal department didn't conduct proper patent research beforehand. They should have taken due diligence in researching BEFORE they committed to manufacturing any product based on prior art.


    I am not rich right now. I have no money. What do you mean I must hire a bunch of lawyers, an entire legal department, before I can invent something? Is this your idea of fostering innovation. Making it easier for the little guy to innovate?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    2close2themoon, Apr 29th, 2006 @ 10:58am

    Re: No Subject Given

    Thanks for fighting anyway. Things will get back on track. I can't believe we are this far off the mark without a correction coming. I just hope too many people don't get hurt.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    Steve, May 17th, 2006 @ 4:46pm

    Don't feel bad for RIM. They have lied to us all. RIM will lead itself to its own demise. They are not smart enough or well managed enough to stay in business. I give them 5 years. They will be bought or out of the picture. The real wireless manufactures have sat back and watched RIM make all of the mistakes and take all of the heat. Now they will step in and make a better device. RIM won't sand up to real competition.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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