23 July 2007

Blowback from the Blackberry Case Continues

Significant patent reform is heading down the pike, and the Supreme Court has already made changes with its Teleflex ruling, and now Congress is weighing in.
Patent Fight Pending
Brian Wingfield, 07.20.07, 6:00 AM ET

Remember the patent dispute surrounding the BlackBerry wireless device? Last year a communications catastrophe was avoided when BlackBerry maker Research in Motion agreed to settle with NTP over a patent infringement lawsuit.

This glosses over what happened. NTP was shaking down Blackberry using an injunction as a threat. When they got an injunction against all non-government service, Blackberry responded that they could not separate the business, and that they would comply by shutting everything down in the US.

Blackberries are used by 90% of congressional aids, most of the White House Staff, and most of the Supreme Court clerks, and a lot of congressmen and perhaps a few of the Justices too, so when this happened, they all freaked, and started talking to each other about a fix.

NTP blinked, not Blackberry, and so they settled for far less than they were originally demanding, but the damage had been done. The political establishment is now aware that IP has run amuck, and this bill is an attempt to fix this.

I do not believe that it goes far enough. I believe that the special patent court, which views everything as a nail since all it has is a hammer, should be abolished, and I believe that the bar for injunctive relief should be set much higher, but the fact politicians are finally seeing this as a problem is a very hopeful development.


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