Derek Kerton, a consultant at the Kerton Group in San Jose, California, and Stephen Maebius, a partner at Foley & Lardner in Washington, commented on the outlook for Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM) and NTP Inc. and their patent dispute.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a ``final'' rejection of one of two of NTP's patents found in 2002 to be infringed by Research In Motion's Blackberry service. Research In Motion faces a court hearing Feb. 24 on whether the service should be shut down over the infringements.
Maebius comments on the meaning of today's ruling for Research In Motion:
``It could help them with respect to the hearing on Friday to show that the patent office is moving forward with the rejection of all the patents.''
``Unfortunately for RIM, the re-examination proceedings in the patent office started later, so the judge had already moved too far along in the litigation to wait for the outcome. The patent office uses a more lenient standard.''
On the potential for a BlackBerry shutdown:
``If the judge decides to issue the injunction, there would be some period of time, especially given the complexity of trying to exempt the government workers, before it would actually take effect.''
``Appeals are still possible, and the final disposition of the patent office proceedings could take too long. Judge Spencer may feel it's time to issue the injunction based upon the prior case.''
Kerton comments on BlackBerry service:
``BlackBerry service is going to keep running. Even if we go right to the brink, we're going to come to a settlement before they shut that service down. It's just too valuable a service for Research in Motion be let be shut down.''
``It looks to me like the ball's in RIM's court right now with the patent office repeatedly giving preliminary rejections of these patents.''
``RIM's in a stronger and stronger negotiating position.''
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