Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick




Why Should The Government Get A Special Exemption In Patent Dispute?

from the mission-critical-for-lots-of-others-too dept

We've discussed in the past stories about the government invoking special privileges to get around licensing a patent it didn't want to pay for. It appeared, late last year, that they were also going to get special treatment in the big patent dispute between RIM and NTP. Three years ago, the US Congress even filed a brief in the case about how troublesome it would be if the service were shut down. Late last year, when it looked like a shut down was more likely, they again made it clear that they would not look kindly on a shut down. NTP's response was pretty sneaky. They basically said they would let RIM keep serving government customers, and only turn it off for everyone else. Well, suddenly those outside of the government are wondering why the government gets special treatment -- with many saying that they, too, have "mission critical" services running via the BlackBerry system. In the meantime, as everyone waits for February 24th to roll around (when everyone's back in court), Toronto's Globe and Mail has put together a decent history of the dispute, that includes RIM's own past attempts at shutting down others through patent claims. However, the ongoing complaints from NTP and its supporters that this is just about someone trying to get what they're "due." Beyond the fact that the patents are pretty clearly not valid and the USPTO rushing to make that official, NTP didn't actually do anything. It was formed specifically to sit on these patents and wait for someone to become a success where NTP's founder had failed. As we've said repeatedly, the real innovation is in successfully bringing a product to market. That's what RIM did -- and pretty clearly without needing the idea found in NTP's patents -- and it seems pretty silly to reward a billion dollars to the guy who failed because another company did it right.

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  • identicon
    howard, 30 Jan 2006 @ 6:43am

    NTP proposed the exemption

    ... to weaken the appeals case. Makes good tactical sense on NTP's part.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Mousky, 30 Jan 2006 @ 7:44am

      Re: NTP proposed the exemption

      Plus it keeps a portion of the Blackberry network alive to earn revenue. If RIM is able to earn revenue it has the ability to pay NTP. No revenue and RIM files for bankruptcy and NTP is out a $1 billion or so.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jose, 30 Jan 2006 @ 8:33am

    NTP want s to keep Government happy, avoid Patent

    It should be obvious that NTP also wants to keep the government happy so that much needed patent reform isn't on the government's mind.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Kevin Maney, 30 Jan 2006 @ 9:48am

    Seems like a lot of hot air

    I talked to RIM and others about this last week and posted at http://blogs.usatoday.com/maney. Seems there's no validity to NTP's claims that government and emergency responders could be somehow "exempted" from a shut-down. Saying so was an NTP court tactic.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      angry dude, 30 Jan 2006 @ 12:05pm

      Our tech

      Hey, Kevin, sometimes I get to read your ignorant and downright misleading articles in USA Today when I eat and drink my beer at lunch.
      Just don't tell us that it is very hard to separate government subscribers from the rest -
      it seams that RIM is trying to convince everybody that this is something impossible to do.
      If they want to do it, they can do it fast, in a matter of few weeks.
      If they pretend they have difficulty doing it - there are plenty of outside consultants to help them.
      I would be delighted to show them how to do it for a modest rate of 200 $ an hour, and it should not take me more than 1 month.
      So just stop writing your ignorant BS, please...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Kramer, 30 Jan 2006 @ 9:56am

    NTP

    If I were RIM and this BS ruling came down, I'd just tell everyone involved that it is all or nothing. If they shut down consumers, then government devices goes with them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jan 2006 @ 1:47pm

    Read some Patent Law

    The original Wired link is no longer valid, but the government has a right to license any granted patent. This sort of goes with other rights our government has that individuals and business don't have - taxing people and waging war come to mind. Any of these government rights can be abused, but that doesn't mean they should be taken away - or that they are not "fair".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    gtr, 11 Mar 2006 @ 7:33am

    hi people

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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