Mobile
Commentary
2/23/2006
09:11 PM
Elena Malykhina
Elena Malykhina
Commentary
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Friday Is Judgment Day For RIM, But The Views Are Mixed About The Outcome

Research In Motion's patent battle with NTP is infamous for generating mixed views about the future of the BlackBerry service in the United States. While the majority of the analyst community believes that an injunction is unlikely, the legal community is almost convinced that the case will end with one.

Research In Motion's patent battle with NTP is infamous for generating mixed views about the future of the BlackBerry service in the United States. While the majority of the analyst community believes that an injunction is unlikely, the legal community is almost convinced that the case will end with one.Many analysts are saying it's not realistic to expect that RIM will get an injunction. For example, Carl Zetie with Forrester Research told me that in the worst case scenario RIM will end up paying NTP a $450 million settlement. On the other hand, Louis Ederer, an intellectual-property attorney with Torys LLP, an international business law firm, argues that the U.S. District Court will enter a judgment in NTP's favor and prevent sale of BlackBerrys in the United States.

It's no surprise that BlackBerry users are in a limbo: Some are creating contingency plans to deploy alternate devices, some are waiting for RIM to release its work-around software, and others are letting the future decide.

They don't have to wait long because the U.S. District Court is expected to issue a ruling this Friday, deciding whether the BlackBerry service will be shut down. At least, that's one more prediction generated by a huge community of people following this ongoing case since 2001.

Again, we may not know what the outcome of the ruling is until a month from now, when U.S. District Judge James Spencer could issue an order for an injunction, according to John Rabena, a partner at intellectual-property law firm Sughrue Mion.

I won't speculate what kind of news the highly anticipated court hearing will bring. All I can offer is a note of reassurance for the people most affected by this ordeal--the BlackBerry users. If an injunction is issued, it will come with a grace period during which RIM and NTP could still decide on a settlement. The chances of that happening are high because RIM doesn't want its service to shut down, and because NTP would rather get money for past and future use of BlackBerrys, Rabena reassures. A settlement would mean no disruption in current service, which most of us are hoping will be the case.

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