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RIM settles NTP patent fight with $612.5M payment
patent dispute had threatened to end RIM's popular BlackBerry e-mail in US
engine




msg:931394
 10:36 am on Mar 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM) announced late today that it has agreed to pay $612.5 million to NTP Inc. to settle the long-running legal fight between the two companies.
The patent dispute had threatened to end RIM's popular BlackBerry e-mail service to millions of users in the U.S. and has been the subject of a contentious, four-year patent battle between the two companies.

RIM settles NTP patent fight with $612.5M payment [computerworld.com]

 

trillianjedi




msg:931395
 11:17 am on Mar 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

This one always boiled down to money. The patent holders have done well... they were obviously right to hold out.

lgn1




msg:931396
 2:09 pm on Mar 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

This is a sad day.

NTP is a parasite. They contribute nothing to society, and they feed off of innovative companies such as RIM.

RIM was winning in the patent court, and the whole thing would have been settled completely in RIM's favor in a couple of years.

RIM should had called NTP and that judges bluff. The US government would never had allowed, the Blackberry service to be shutdown in the USA.

And besides, comtempt of court would have been better than giving in to parasite companies such as NTP.

What's next, will NTP with it new found wealth, buy more quasi-patents, for example, the patent for the invention of the shopping cart, and sue us all.

Shame om RIM for settling to the corporate equivalent of a terrorist organization.

httpwebwitch




msg:931397
 2:59 pm on Mar 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

this is a happy day for RIM.
RIM has rid itself of that parasite, forever.

the deal covers all current NTP patents involved in the litigation as well as future NTP patents

They not only bought their freedom from this patent infringement, but they also bought future immunity from NTP.

A few hundred million is a relatively small dent in RIM's coffers

blaze




msg:931398
 5:37 pm on Mar 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

Yeah, our patent system is screwed up, no doubt about it.

NTP deserves some money, but 612M? For what? Because they hired a lot of lawyers? How is hiring lawyers innovative?

tntpower




msg:931399
 7:35 pm on Mar 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

Yeah, our patent system is screwed up, no doubt about it.
NTP deserves some money, but 612M? For what? Because they hired a lot of lawyers? How is hiring lawyers innovative?

I agree.

aff_dan




msg:931400
 12:31 pm on Mar 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

A Good press release about blackberry is here:
[media-press-release.com...]

2by4




msg:931401
 2:45 am on Mar 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

lgn1, I have to agree 100%. This IP patent stuff is a disease, it's going to destroy innovation completely. I've been absolutey astounded when I've read some of the google patents for example, there isn't a line of code in them, just some very general ideas, literally the kind of stuff anyone who knew the business could sketch up quickly while having some beers at a bar with their coworkers, on a napkin. The fact that something so ridiculously vague ever got to be patented is absolutey tragic. The very idea of patenting IP stuff is absurd at its foundation. Note, I'm not talking about copyright, that's a totally different thing, you're creating something, it exists in some form, it's real, and you have rights to protect it. IP patents are not like that at all.

If you forget that these are legally registered corporations, this type of behavior would correctly be called criminal extortion in any other circumstance. It's a very sad day when extortion has been made legal to this degree, and not only legal, socially acceptable.

trillianjedi




msg:931402
 10:03 am on Mar 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

....just some very general ideas, literally the kind of stuff anyone who knew the business could sketch up quickly while having some beers at a bar with their coworkers, on a napkin.

Genius can strike at the oddest of moments.

The fact that something so ridiculously vague ever got to be patented is absolutey tragic.

I note this is a US only thing, and I don't know anything about the US patent system, but maybe you could explain to me how it is vague? I haven't seen the patent myself. Has anyone got a link to it?

Note, I'm not talking about copyright, that's a totally different thing, you're creating something, it exists in some form, it's real, and you have rights to protect it. IP patents are not like that at all.

Patents are exactly like that. Copyright and patents are no different - both exist to protect a creative or inventive idea or concept.

Why do you think an inventive idea is less valuable than a made up story?

TJ

2by4




msg:931403
 10:34 pm on Mar 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

oh, I see, you're not in the USA.

If you read a google patent, and a patent application, you'll see what I mean.

An action where a user, manipulating the either wire or wireless attached device, known as a 'mouse', selects a button, and pushes it. When he / she pushes it, it creates the illusion of movement by changing top and left border colors for bottom and right border colors.

clicking this button will activate a process that submits data to the device known as 'server a' in the previous diagram.

I kid you not, this is exactly how they read. These aren't even ideas, they are just random half thoughts that have no real manifestation.

Something seriously wrong happened with the us patent system, this type of thing was impossible to put through in the past.

Copyright requires an existing product or work. Richard Stallman has an excellent example, taken from literature, where he demonstrates with chilling accuracy what would happen if similar patents had been applied to any work of literature in the past. All literature, all music, would instantly cease to exist, and only corporations with large patent portfolios could afford the risk of producing any type of music or writing.

It's only because the people who make the laws have never been able to grasp technical issues adequately that this garbage was allowed to happen. That's an ongoing problem. And technology moves too fast for them to keep up with, so it's easier for lobbiests to slip this stuff into the system. That's what happened here in the US, I don't follow the rest of the world so i can't say, I think Germany has similar problems.

<<< Why do you think an inventive idea is less valuable than a made up story? >>>

that's not even remotely related to what the reality is. The reality is that people are rushing to patent any and all things that exist, with or without prior art checks, just in hope that they can strike it rich. this has nothing to do with creative ideas, and everything to do with greed and corruption.

But more to the point: are you seriously suggesting that a half baked vague, unrealized idea, has any similarity to a finished work? Let's see... I have this idea, ok, there's this king, he lives in scandinavia, he has some issues, things happen to him. I'll fill in the details later. That's Hamlet in case you had trouble recognizing it.

Anyone can think of some idea, that's easy. It's actually making it real that's hard. Try writing a book and then check back with me with the same statement. It's easy to think of an idea for something, that takes no work.

Here's one: I want to write a program that automatically logs me into WebmasterWorld, checks all my favorite pages, then gives me the output.

That idea took no effort at all to create. Zero almost, as close to zero as possible. Now to program that, that is the actual work. Sounds like you haven't done a whole lot of completed creative projects.

trillianjedi




msg:931404
 10:51 pm on Mar 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

That idea took no effort at all to create.

But it's not really a very useful idea is it? I mean, who would pay money for the product that did that? Where's the inventive element?

Good ideas are like gold dust - most people might have one truly good, unique and inventive, idea in a lifetime.

Anyone can think of some idea, that's easy.

Sure, and those ideas are not worth the paper they are written on.

are you seriously suggesting that a half baked vague, unrealized idea, has any similarity to a finished work?

Not a half-baked vague idea no. But a clever system or idea - yes, absolutely. Coding it is the easy part. Building it is easy. Those ideas are worthy of, and deserve, protection.

The conception of an idea is where the real skill lies. As I said previously, moments of genuis can strike at the oddest of moments, or never at all. Programming can be done at any time - it's just logic.

The genius of Shakespeare was not the act of writing down and having a story published. It's the conception of the story and the narration that's the clever part. Writing it down was easy.

TJ

blaze




msg:931405
 11:02 pm on Mar 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

Yeah.. cause, sending emails to and from your pager is such a clever, non obvious idea.

No one ever thought of that before, well, except for anyone who has had a pager and email at least.

2by4




msg:931406
 11:03 pm on Mar 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

trillian, I'm sorry, but I have to completely and utterly disagree. And it's so absurdly easy to demonstrate with example after example. Here's one you should be able to relate to:

In 1995 I have an idea. I patent it. I never do a thing with it. The idea is to have an interactive website that deals with technical webmaster issues.

This forum will have people known as 'moderators' who's duty it will be to moderate the quality and tone of postings made by members.

In order to post, members must submit an online application. Once submitted, they will be allowed to use the posting feature of the forum software [described in section 4.a.2].

And so on.

That's what real patents for IP look like.

An idea has zero value until you make it real. Every writer on the planet knows that. WebmasterWorld would have zero value as an idea if Brett hadn't made it happen, line by line, day by day, post by post. WebmasterWorld as an idea is nothing.

The same goes for almost every other piece of IP property garbage out there. For example, MS is tryingto get its FAT32 stuff patented so they can get money from memory stick makers. But fat32 was built around prior art. So now all the sides have to spend huge resources to either stop it or get it allowed. That's just one example.

Now if MS had copyrighted the actual fat32 code and system, which it didn't, they would have a real claim.

Your idea that these ideas getting patented have some type of mystical golden quality or value simply has little or nothing to do with reality.

In software, say we look at nero. Here's the idea: let's make a better cd burning software than roxio makes. That's it, that's the whole idea. Or Opera: let's make a better browser, smaller, faster, than MSIE. Or MSIE: let's implement parts of mosaic to fight off netscape. these aren't even remotely creative ideas. Same for google search, there's nothing creative in that process, all they are doing is trying to think of any and all ideas that might cover a process, then patenting them so they can fight off competition in the future, build up patent portfolios, etc.

You've very clearly never written much or you wouldn't think that the idea unrealized has any value at all. Or played music, whatever. Ideas are cheap, every writer knows this, every musician knows it. It's capturing it and making it manifest that is the actual work of art. That's why Art is called art, and why it's called a 'work' of 'art'. The value is in the work. You're falling for the hype.

trillianjedi




msg:931407
 11:04 pm on Mar 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

I don't think that was the actual "idea" was it? That certainly would not have been patented if that had been the case.

Like I say, I haven't seen the patent which RIM infringed, so can't comment on that specifically. But you can't tarnish every other idea and patent with the same brush.

Does anyone have a link to the patent in question?

TJ

trillianjedi




msg:931408
 11:13 pm on Mar 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

You've very clearly never written much or you wouldn't think that the idea unrealized has any value at all. Or played music, whatever.

Actually, you're very wrong there (and I'm furiously protective of my own creations), but this isn't about me.

I have a patent granted and one applied for and sitting on a desk somewhere at the European patent office. Both are systems out in use, built, tested, working and available.

I can assure you from actual experience that building them was the easy part - the concept was the real "art". The element of "thinking time" exceeded the "build time" by 1000 to 1.

Very very few people come out with good ideas. A programmer with no ideas is just a tool for others to use. A person with ideas gets things created - with a hired programmer if necessary.

The reverse is not true.

I'd still like to see the patent that is the subject of this thread.

TJ

2by4




msg:931409
 11:40 pm on Mar 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

it's prettty easy to find patents, the uspatent office's website actually works.

Simple google search should give you the patent.

These patents often literally have the wording I described, I'm only slightly paraphrasing.

As for the rest, no argument:

I have a patent granted and one applied for and sitting on a desk somewhere at the European patent office. Both are systems out in use, built, tested, working and available.

yes, big difference, I never really had much problem with real things that exist being patented. The problem with software patents is that they patent things like algo components etc. that's why I point to copyright as a good example.

I can assure you from actual experience that building them was the easy part - the concept was the real "art". The element of "thinking time" exceeded the "build time" by 1000 to 1.

Yes, the incubation time is critical, design if you do that kind of thing, depends on the stuff. To me 'thinking time' is just life though, it's nothing special. Read some real patents though, it will open your eyes quickly. We are not talking about what you are talking about here, think vague generalities, wish lists, shots in the dark.

Very very few people come out with good ideas. A programmer with no ideas is just a tool for others to use. A person with ideas gets things created - with a hired programmer if necessary.

Yes, I more or less agree. So if the thing is going to be created, why the necessity to patent fragments, elements, all that nonsense? The reality of software patents is really vile as a rule, it's not what you're describing at all. To me a software patent that doesn't include a working object or model has no value. If the idea is so great why isn't it implemented?

However, to me it sounds like you're talking about the programming design, architecture, all that stuff. The model for the working system that is. Writing has nothing to do with that except on a commercial hack level. Planning and designing an entire system, in detail, that's really the product before it's made, an engineering drawing that is. That's a work, that's not what the argument is about when it comes to software patents and stuff like that.

they're talking about patenting simple methods. And if your invention used by accident a single one of those methods, say an 'if clause' in programming, you'd have to pay, or find a way to work around it. That's what the patent stuff here is all about, it's totally nuts.

Maybe the British patent system is actually somewhat rational, and so this stuff seems to not make sense to you, the US one is pretty majorly broken right now.

blaze




msg:931410
 12:49 am on Mar 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

There are good patents and bad patents. The RSA algorithm, for example, was a very strong and very good patent.

However, in general, our patent system unfortunately can not deaal with obvious/non obvious patents very well.

It's a problem, and this NTP fiasco was a symptom of that disease.

oh, and fyi, you don't patent ideas you patent processes.

So, really, your arguments is very wonky here.

2by4




msg:931411
 2:52 am on Mar 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

processes, ideas, who cares what word you call it? So you call an idea a process. That explains why those ridiculous google patents put all their ideas into this process form. It's an idea put into a different format so it fits the model, don't get all hung up on definitions when the problem is what's in question.

It doesn't take much insight at all to see that what you are looking at is an idea, unless ideas are foreign concepts or something.

You have an idea, then you put it into the proper format to fit whatever the requirements are. If it's process, then make the idea look like a process. That explains why the google stuff is so ridiculous when you read it. They just make up some fake process to contain the idea. But all they are patenting is the idea behind the process. Sigh.... no wonder this stuff is happening here...

trillianjedi




msg:931412
 8:31 am on Mar 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

oh, and fyi, you don't patent ideas you patent processes.

Well if that's the line of thinking here, no wonder we'll have to agree to disagree.

If you think there's no creative element involved in a patent, then OK. You're entitled to that view.

There are good and bad patents - just like there are good and bad books which have been published. We all accept that.

US patent office search

I don't know what to search for as I haven't read anywhere exactly what technology RIM used which belonged to NTP.

You guys have obviously read this patent - can you not give me a link, or let me know what the abstract said?

TJ

blaze




msg:931413
 7:01 pm on Mar 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

It's not a line of thinking, it's the law.

[uspto.gov...]

"and abstract ideas are not patentable subject matter."


The patent law specifies the general field of subject matter that can be patented and the conditions under which a patent may be obtained.

In the language of the statute, any person who “invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent,” subject to the conditions and requirements of the law. The word “process” is defined by law as a process, act or method, and primarily includes industrial or technical processes. The term “machine” used in the statute needs no explanation. The term “manufacture” refers to articles that are made, and includes all manufactured articles. The term “composition of matter” relates to chemical compositions and may include mixtures of ingredients as well as new chemical compounds. These classes of subject matter taken together include practically everything that is made by man and the processes for making the products.

The Atomic Energy Act of 1954 excludes the patenting of inventions useful solely in the utilization of special nuclear material or atomic energy in an atomic weapon 42 U.S.C. 2181 (a).

The patent law specifies that the subject matter must be “useful.” The term “useful” in this connection refers to the condition that the subject matter has a useful purpose and also includes operativeness, that is, a machine which will not operate to perform the intended purpose would not be called useful, and therefore would not be granted a patent.

Interpretations of the statute by the courts have defined the limits of the field of subject matter that can be patented, thus it has been held that the laws of nature, physical phenomena, and abstract ideas are not patentable subject matter.

A patent cannot be obtained upon a mere idea or suggestion. The patent is granted upon the new machine, manufacture, etc., as has been said, and not upon the idea or suggestion of the new machine. A complete description of the actual machine or other subject matter for which a patent is sought is required.


blaze




msg:931414
 7:20 pm on Mar 7, 2006 (gmt 0)


You have an idea, then you put it into the proper format to fit whatever the requirements are. If it's process, then make the idea look like a process. That explains why the google stuff is so ridiculous when you read it. They just make up some fake process to contain the idea. But all they are patenting is the idea behind the process. Sigh.... no wonder this stuff is happening here...

Yup, this is a good point. And you have subtle understanding of the problem .. still, it's not an excuse to use inexact language.

There are problems though. Probably when the patent was created it was very non-obvious .. but after email and pagers became mainstream, the patents became very obvious.

Should the patent stil be valid?

Interesting problems.

trillianjedi




msg:931415
 8:29 pm on Mar 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

It's not a line of thinking, it's the law.

No, it's a line of thinking that ignores the creative element. It's the creative thought that leads you to the process.

any person who “invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent

The "process" is simply a description of steps. There is no creative element in drafting that. That's the job of a patent agent.

It's the idea behind the process that is the creative element.

There are problems though. Probably when the patent was created it was very non-obvious .. but after email and pagers became mainstream, the patents became very obvious.

Should the patent stil be valid?

Absolutely it should be still valid. What's the point in coming up with a brand new inventive idea unless you can protect yourself against people ripping you off?

I totally understand the frustration when a company manages to patent something that shouldn't, in the opinion of the public, be patentable. But that's not the fault of the creative community, and the creative community deserve to have the ability to protect creative ideas.

I would be absolutely lost without the patent system in the current situation that I find myself in.

TJ

httpwebwitch




msg:931416
 3:49 am on Mar 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

I'm one of those people who comes up with 10 interesting ideas before breakfast. And I often belive 20 impossible things before lunch.

An Idea: "people should be nice to each other"
A Process: "make a pager that can send email"
is that what you mean by an idea/process and the difference betwixt?

I've often thought about patenting an idea, a process, whatever you want to call it. To this day I've never done it; instead I submit them to the halfbakery (add ".com" to that word to browse funny inventions) for amusement.

I've often wondered, where is that line that separates something patentable from something merely unique? Is a shoe-strapped device that makes horse-hoof noises patentable? Variable-brightness brake lights? Mail-in Rebate brokerages? Alt-Shift foot pedals? Discarded Party Supply House Insulation? Vinyl-ROM? Can I patent something that uses existing technology to do something original?

TJ I'd be fascinated to hear your insight into applying for a patent, what made your idea worthy of patenting and your opinion - whether someone with an interesting idea should go through the bother of applying. What, in your opinion, are the criteria?

Make it a new thread if you prefer

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