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. icon
    Mike (profile), 30 Dec 2005 @ 4:41pm

    Re: ridiculous

    Heh. So, before I was ignorant and obviously hadn't done any research, and now I've obviously put some thought into this. :) Okay, you've proved your point that "obviousness" can be a flakey subject -- though I don't know if that's what you intended.

    I already said that finding a single expert isn't enough. We're talking about multiple peers weighing in on the issue. Why do you keep going back to the fact that a single person could be biased? Besides, as we said, anyone weighing in would have to make their case about why something is obvious. It's not as simple as just raising a hand and saying "that's obvious."

    As for your other questions, I may try to address them in more detail soon, but I actually do have to run now. But, I guess I'm still not sure why you don't understand how people can show progression of a field. What's confusing about it to you? It seems pretty straight forward. You show how the science has updated and how it trends towards solving specific problems, and you can make the case that the next steps are fairly obvious. "Proof" is a loaded word, because as we both agree, there's no absolute "proof" of obviousness -- but if enough people make a convincing case that it is fairly obvious (or we see others have made the same "breakthroughs") then it certainly raises serious questions why one person deserves the patent.

    This only works if the people you query have no knowledge of the claimed invention or the patent application, else your panel would be intolerably tainted by hindsight.

    Hmm. That's not true. If the invention is non-obvious to those skilled in the art, then the problem that's being solved should still cause problems, shouldn't it? If it's so easy that as soon as someone states the problem, others come up with the same solution... then you've got *serious* problems with your "obviousness" standard. Unless you're saying that it's "any solution" to a problem that should be patented, rather than a specific one -- and, if that's the case then we've got even more problems to discuss, because that's very problematic.

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