In the closely watched litigation between patent owner NTP Inc. and adjudicated patent infringer Research in Motion Ltd. (RIM) over the BlackBerry wireless e-mail system, RIM has settled for $612.5 million to avoid an injunction and continue to operate its current e-mail system. This intellectual property case was perhaps one of the most noteworthy in recent business history for the breathtaking brinkmanship exhibited by a major corporation. This is particularly so, given the variety of factors suggesting that NTP’s patents are much stronger than many people believed.
First, RIM had steadfastly maintained for years that NTP’s patents were invalid, and had repeatedly requested that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) re-examine their validity. Despite all of those efforts, NTP’s patents have held strong. RIM first contested the validity of the NTP patents while defending itself against NTP’s 2001 patent infringement suit. RIM lost at every stage-in summary judgment proceedings, at trial, in a motion for judgment as a matter of law and on appeal. NTP Inc. v. Research In Motion Ltd., 418 F.3d 1282, 1290-1291, 1325 (Fed. Cir. 2005). The trial court stated, “RIM’s anticipation and obviousness [validity] defenses were not substantial.” 270 F. Supp. 2d 751, 759.
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