NTP Tries to Allay Government Fears of Blackberry Cutoff

from the nothing-to-worry-about dept

Following a plea from the Department of Justice to the judge in the RIM-NTP patent case not cut off government workers’ Blackberries, NTP has moved to allay the fears by saying RIM could easily implement a whitelist of government users. RIM, of course, disputes this, and it may be academic in the end as it says it has a software workaround it can implement to get around the patents. All this comes as the widow of NTP’s founder sent an angry letter to her senators decrying the DOJ’s involvement in the case. Apparently she’s not a fan of the government’s selective enforcement of patents, either, though her motivations’s probably a bit different.

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Comments on “NTP Tries to Allay Government Fears of Blackberry Cutoff”

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Mike (profile) says:

Re: No Subject Given

So RIM says it can easily implement the whole software workaround to avoid patent infringement,
but cannot implement a simple lookup database of US government customers ?

Uh, no, I think you missed the point. No one ever said that RIM couldn’t do a workaround for Federal Government users. The fear was that they *wouldn’t be allowed to* do such a workaround, because the injunction would force them to turn off *all* service.

What NTP is saying, is basically, that *they* would *allow* RIM to exempt Federal workers from the injunction.

Tom C III says:

Poor Government

Government wants a 90 day warning? I’m sorry, but didn’t they have a 2 year warning? Wasn’t the verdict in November of 2003 an injunction (but stayed pending appeal). Should have started that white list 2 years ago, or at least formed a new government committee exploring replacement technologies. If national security is such an issue, why are we relying on a product that sends every message through a relay server in Canada?

Mousky (user link) says:

Re: No Subject Given

The $23 million dollar figure you cite is damages – and I believe the correct figure is about $54 million. Based on that judgement, RIM and NTP entered negotiations to license the patents at a cost of $450 million. The “smart” executives of RIM did not decide to fight “it to the bitter end”. They accepted the initial judgement and in their opinion reached an agreement with NTP. However, NTP says otherwise, and RIM is asking the court to enforce the licensing agreement. What was that about idiots?

small guy says:

Re: Re: Know the facts before you write

You don’t know anything about this case.
The jury had found RIM guilty of *willful* patent infringement, but RIM decided not to settle but to appeal the court decision.
They lost on appeal and now they are facing the consequences of their stupiduty and total disrespect for a patent law…
They are thieves and they will be punished for stealing other peoples intellectual property and for their stupidity as well…

Spoing says:

RIM BlackBerry ?Push a Link? Work-Around Reviewed

There are a few dozen companies that have seen the RIM work-around and the specification under an NDA, I included. I won?t elaborate on when, where or details that might give away my ID but I will attempt to give you enough information to set your heart at ease that the BlackBerry work-around isn?t such a big deal at all ? IMO.
There are (as far as I have seen) two versions. One is indistinguishable from the current service (The StealthBerry) and the other is far more interesting and introduces more features (dubbed ?The Blackcherry or The StrawBerry?) that will be integrated into future models if a settlement is not reached with NTP. I?ll attempt to describe the latter product first.
Appearance, Function, Ease of use of the Blackcherry
After the standard alert, I picked up the BlackCherry prototype and the preview screen looked very traditional. It included a list of email headers. The headers contained the name of the sender, the subject, the date and time received, an attachment indicator and an importance level indicator. I believe (but do not recall for certain) that there was an indicator for the type of email (Fax, Video, Gif, etc.) but I may have been looking at the attachment file header itself. Either way, it was very informative and if anything it was an improvement as far as a preview screens goes.
At the preview screen were several soft key options. They were: view, forward, reply, move, and delete all. The view key (after selecting a header) brought up the selected email. I noticed a slight delay before the first page was displayed (almost 2 seconds). The forward key allowed for forwarding an email to another recipient. The reply allowed for replying before viewing the email (not sure why anyone would do that), the move key is provided for moving an email to another folder (never tried that), and finally, the delete key deleted the header and the email on our corporate server (ability to delete spam while waiting at the airport). All-in-all, the demo BlackCerry service was the same or better than before, except for the slight delay after selecting the view key. There are only minor user interface changes (mostly positive) and the learning curve is negligible. Personally, I don?t believe updated instructions will be required. The updated Blackberry service is still very intuitive, maybe even more so.
Required updates
There are no software updates required for the Stealth or the Blackcherry handsets. The new BlackCherry has revised firmware. The BES remains unchanged (no updates). The work-around is actually preformed at the NOC in Canada. My understanding is, the NOC update is very minor. I?ll talk more about that later.
As presented, there are absolutely no changes to any security features or security specifications whatsoever.
Technical Description
This is (in my opinion) the best part. The only change at the NOC is ? The email headers are pushed to the handset (like a link to the email), vs. the headers and the first page or two of the email body. The resulting effect is, the Blackberry recipient receives a notification of an email (i.e. who it was from, the subject, the description and a ton of other information describing the email but not the actual email. Then, based on information displayed within the header, the subscriber determines an appropriate function, such as view the selected message. When the subscriber selects view, the body of the email is retrieved and then displayed, a process that takes 1-2 seconds. The effect is indistinguishable from the current Blackberry service. In other words it?s a push ? pull system. The headers are pushed and the body is pulled. Believe it or not, it?s that simple and the result is invisible to the subscriber.
Market Trials
From what I have been able to ascertain, more than 160,000 subscribers are currently and unknowingly experiencing the Stealth service. The actual market trials are being conducted in countries other than the U.S. Only 0.5% of these subscribers have voiced any dissatisfaction relevant to the slight delay introduced during retrieval of the email or noticeable differences at all. Better than 99% seem to go on with their Blackberry life as usual ? According to the perfectly honed speech.
The Work-Around
The NTP patents have (at the very least) a singular weakness. They are all limited to a one way (push) email systems. At the time the NTP Patents were filed, two-way pagers had yet to be invented and they were not contemplated by the NTP patents. Hence, NTP?s inventions do not cover a two-way pager or system that would be required to push only the header (not the actual email message) to the pager and enable retrieval of remotely stored email based on a transmission from the pager ? One-way pagers cannot transmit anything.
Information about the NTP one-way paging system can be found at the links below.
Why the Wait?
I have no idea what they are waiting for. Perhaps they have filed their own patents on the push-pull system and they are waiting for them to get approved or there is some other strategic reasoning.
Final review *****

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