ZD Net is reporting that Nokia has obtained a licensing agreement from NTP for use of patents that allegedly cover RIM's BlackBerry device. BlackBerry enabled Nokia devices should be available in the U.S. "in two to three months."
The patent infringement case between RIM and NTP is ongoing. The Federal Circuit recently heard oral arguments in an appeal of the district court's patent infringement finding. A ruling is expected within the next several weeks. Read more about the lawsuit here.
Although the terms of the agreement have not been made public, the license gives Nokia two big advantages. First, it allows Nokia to hedge its bets against the outcome of the RIM lawsuit. Second, and perhaps more important, Nokia is setting itself up to get a "first-mover" advantage over other carriers.
"There is a reasonable likelihood that they might not get all the patents thrown out,'' said patent lawyer Brad Hulbert of McDonnell, Boehnen, Hulbert & Berghoff LLP in Chicago. "It's better to pay now than pay more later." (Bloomberg)
(Drawing is from RIM's U.S. Design Patent D479,233).