Patent Office Rejects Important NTP Patent… A Day Late

from the oh-well,-next-time dept

Just a day after a judge in the NTP-RIM patent fight said that he would not wait for the US Patent Office to complete a review of NTP’s patents, that same Patent Office announced a “non-final” ruling on one of the NTP patents, suggesting that the original patent might not be valid. If you’ve been keeping score, this is just the latest in a long line. Each of the NTP patent the Patent Office has reviewed has come back with serious questions about their validity. In this case, it’s the second time this patent has been reviewed. While NTP still gets to respond, the USPTO made it clear that it’s extremely unlikely that they’ll change their mind. This is important, since RIM was only found guilty of infringing on two patents — and this is one of them. The oddest part about this, however, is that the reason for finding the patent invalid was that the USPTO reviewed some prior art submitted by NTP’s own lawyers — who still claim that they will prevail in the end. It’s not at all clear why they submitted the evidence that seems to discredit their own patents. Either way, the fact that the USPTO appears to have serious doubts as to whether or not these patents are valid seem like a pretty damn good reason for the court not to force RIM to pay out nearly a billion dollars. What happens if the patents are all eventually completely rejected? Does RIM get its money back?

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Comments on “Patent Office Rejects Important NTP Patent… A Day Late”

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Mark V (user link) says:

Re: Re: BB "Push a link" workaround

I found the following info from this RIM pdf. Could this be what they are doing?

“Server side PUSH”

“Push a link to the BlackBerry main screen”

“push web content and links to users
? Alert users of new information”
?Message Push?
? Push a message to the user?s inbox that automatically launches the
browser to a specified page (cached or not)”

Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

Well the reason that NTP’s lawyers submitted that prior art may be because companies seeking a patent are required to also submit a list of prior art that the patent may rely upon or that is similar to the current patent. It is usually all listed on the first page of the patent once it is granted. If they purposely exclude some relevant prior art, then the patent could be invalidated when they try to sue somebody. I’m not completely positive about all of that, but I pretty sure it’s correct.

James F (user link) says:

RIM, NTPpatents & settlement

FYI, the WSJ quoted sources as saying the original $450M settelement was never signed b/c RIM wanted a clause in it saying they would get their money back if the NTP patents were later found invalid. NTP said no, so they’re still at it. Will be very interesting to hear if there is a settlement, will it include a provision allowing RIM a refund if patents invalidated post-settlement.

Finally, has anyone heard re. the RIM work-around? I hear they are on the verge of deploying a solution whgich doesn’t infringe…

dude says:

Re: link to the article, please ?

Where did you find about this clause ?
A link to the article, if possible, please ?
I would NEVER EVER sign such a clause for anything
at all, much less for 450mil.
It may take PTO 10 years to arrive to the final
conclusion, counting all the appeals…
The initial rejection of a patent by PTO is no
big deal, happens all the time.
Eolas patent was also initially rejected on re-examination, but finally has passed PTO scrutiny.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re: link to the article, please ?

The initial rejection of a patent by PTO is no
big deal, happens all the time.

Yeah, but this isn’t an *initial* rejection. This is the second rejection of that patent, and the USPTO says it’s very unlikely that any response from NTP will change that decision.

So, yes, it IS a big deal.

dude says:

Re: Re: Re: link to the article, please ?

Ok, it may be a big deal.
But, from my personal (and rather frustrating) experience with USPTO, I can only say for sure:
never say ‘no’ until it’s actually over.
PTO is a mess, they need some serious quality reforms indeed…
Though in a high profile case like this they’s better deploy their best resources and expedite proceedings…

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