US Patent Office Calls RIM And NTP: "Patents Will Be Rejected"

from the in-case-you-were-wondering dept

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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  1. icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), 30 Dec 2005 @ 12:19pm

    Re: Bad Patents, Bad Law, Bad opinions

    Howard,

    The reason the patents are bad is primarily one of "obviousness". In 1991, a patent for mobile email should not have been granted. A network communication application existed, namely Email, wireless networks existed, and layering the application of email on the wireless network was not an invention, but an inevitability.

    Why has no patent been granted or enforced for wireless stock quotes, or wireless sales force automation applications, or wireless weather reports? These are just obvious connections between applications that existed on wired networks, and moved to wireless networks.

    I don't think it's careless to ask the patent office to stop granting patents on obvious ideas. Patents for obvious ideas may be a "wall" that's carrying a load, but the whole load needs to fall. We have way to many patents for obvious things... Amazon's one click and NTP are just two examples.

    As I said in my article on the NTP issue in 2003,
    http://www.kerton.com/papers/20030831.html
    "Should a riskless, productless holding company be rewarded by our legal systems to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars for the wireless equivalent of "getting your chocolate in my peanut butter?"

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