If you are following our coverage
of the BlackBerry patent case
, you may find an article by the Associated Press
interesting. Here are a few quotes for your enjoyment:
"I have spent enough of my time and life involved with NTP and RIM," [U.S. District Judge James R.] Spencer said. [...] If Spencer is frustrated, few people would blame him. Patent challenges are proliferating. And this case has been especially time-consuming, even in a court that prides itself on its speed in dealing with litigation.
Robert Kerton, an economics professor at University of Waterloo in Canada, says the case demonstrates the need to reform the patent system, allowing real producers to get down to business.
"But don't hold your breath," he said, "because thousands of attorneys really love the tangled system."
The Canadian government, too, is incredulous. Earlier this year, it filed a brief in a U.S. appeals court, claiming that the lower court's decision could have a "chilling" effect on innovation by Canadian companies.
NTP is often portrayed as a so-called "patent troll," a company with no products and little infrastructure. These predatory companies amass patent portfolios with the intent of filing suits against legitimate businesses. They have become many corporations' nightmares.
But from the court's opinion, things aren't so cut-and-dried,
"RIM's infringement was clear," Spencer wrote in one opinion. "Indeed, it offered no real defense to NTP's infringement case at trial."
The article goes on to discuss what possible outcomes would look like. The complete shutdown of the BlackBerry network is still entirely possible, but unlikely. It would be interesting, however -- if the RIM network were shut down tomorrow, how many BlackBerry users would suddenly become interested in patent system abuses, and be willing to write to their senators