The high profile patent infringement lawsuit filed by NTP against RIM, the makers of Blackberry, has finally been settled, with RIM handing over $612.5 million. TMCNet.com explains the significance:
Under the deal, Research in Motion Ltd., the Canadian company that pioneered the BlackBerry service, will license technology to keep it in business and allow it to transmit e-mail that government, emergency services and much of professional Washington have come to rely upon.
The case attracted the close scrutiny of business and government leaders, many of whom walk down K Street or Wall Street tapping the palm-size devices. The case also took on special significance to inventors and big businesses, who viewed it as a test of the patent system in the digital age.
In addition to the impact in the mobile market -- Blackberry's stock is up about 19% in extended trade, with Palm down about 4% -- this also raises further questions about the patent process in the United States. From FT.com:
Some experts have also argued that injunctions are too blunt an instrument to be used in the case of intellectual property disputes like this, since they can destroy a successful service built up by a company like RIM.
The BlackBerry case “serves as another reminder of the precarious state of intellectual property law in the US,” said Roger McNamee, a Silicon Valley financier.