BlackBerry saved

by admin March 5, 2006 at 3:21 am

The long-running BlackBerry saga appears to be over.

Research In Motion and NTP have agreed to settle the patent dispute over the BlackBerry device for $612.5 million, the companies announced in a press release on Friday. Under the agreement, RIM will receive a license to NTP’s patents going forward, they said.

The agreement involves a one-time payment to NTP, RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie said during a Friday afternoon conference call. Even if the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office eventually overturns NTP’s patents, NTP will not have to repay the $612.5 million. “There is no provision for the PTO re-exam. This is a full and final settlement,” he said.

“It’s very important we got the scope we wanted. The scope relates to all of NTP’s patents and relates to all of RIM’s products,” Balsillie added. “We really did this to give certainty, and calmness and comfort to our ecosystem.”

RIM and NTP briefly agreed to settle the case for $450 million in March of 2005, but that deal later fell through. RIM thought the companies had come to a final agreement, but NTP believed the matter had never been finalized, and the litigation continued.

Dennis Kavelman, RIM’s chief financial officer, said RIM was feeling the effects of enterprise customers waiting for resolution in the case before expanding their current BlackBerry usage or upgrading to new hardware and software.

Balsillie expressed his frustration with Judge James Spencer’s inclination to move forward with the case and not wait for the USPTO to complete its re-exam. “It was surprising and disappointing that the court wasn’t going to put much weight on the final office actions.”

Full article: CNET