NTP Trying To Drag Out The Patent Rejection Process? Wonder Why...

from the hmm dept

Last week the US Patent Office took the surprising step of reaching out and calling both RIM and NTP to let them know that it's very, very likely to reject all of NTP's patents at the heart of the excruciatingly long patent battle with RIM. This was extremely important because the judge in the patent lawsuit had said that he wouldn't wait for the Patent Office's ruling, mainly because he was sick of dealing with the case (who knew that impatience was a reasonable reason for ignoring important evidence and pushing a billion dollar fine?). So, now, the two parallel timelines become much more important. The companies are supposed to file documents with the court by February 1, 2006 -- and the judge is expected to rule soon afterwards. As for the patent review process, NTP was supposed to get its response in by the end of this month, but has managed to squeeze out a 30-day extension meaning it won't have to file the response until the nearly the same date as when the judge will make his decision. While NTP denies it's dragging out the process, it's clearly in the company's interest to do so. Still, we wonder how the judge can, in good conscience, still move forward with the case when the Patent Office has clearly stated that it believes it made a huge mistake in originally granting these patents. Meanwhile, it still seems like a reasonable question as to whether RIM can sue the Patent Office for its admitted negligence in issuing these patents (though, of course, they might want to wait until the patents are really rejected).

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  1. identicon
    observer, 30 Dec 2005 @ 10:39am

    the Spirit of the law trumps the Letter for the la

    Well we've heard from "patentman" what the folks in the "business" of patents think, but there is a bigger picture here: how the international community OUTSIDE the legal process perceives what is happening.

    Ultimately, it's those millions of voters in both Canada and the US that follow this case and apply a "gut feeling" perception to the proceedings. The layman's perception may not match the legal minutia, but (in a democracy) the citizens are entitled to judge the legal system on its results rather than just on whether the lawyers and circuit judges involved are functioning as per their legal rights.

    These voters are the ones who need to get out and express their opinions on the corruptions they perceive, which may be simply written in the letter of the law. Certainly a voter movement to get software patents removed in the US will be fought tooth and nail by the companies and their lawyers who perceive themselves as entitled to benefit from such patents, but unless I'm mistaken, this government was created to serve the average citizen, not the lawyers, corporations, and politicians.

    I perceive that this case boils down to an American company exploiting an overworked patent system to raise dubious claims against a successful Canadian company.

    The US can say, "Hey we're the biggest market in the world, and you have to play by our broken rules to do business here." But that just becomes protectionism at some point, and the other side (e.g. Canada) would be right in my opinion to see this sort of behavior as a trade war of sorts.

    Anyways, patentman, take your $220/hour attitude and cash in that money on some karma. You'll need it.

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