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.