After years of high-profile legal battles, NTP and Research-in-Motion (RIM) have reportedly settled their patent dispute over RIM’s BlackBerry system. According to the press release:
RIM has paid NTP $612.5 million in full and final settlement of all claims against RIM, as well as for a perpetual, fully-paid up license going forward. This amount includes money already escrowed by RIM to date.
The settlement, widely expected for the past year, will likely bring to a close the wild ride at NASDAQ. (RIMM).
An appropriate reader comment:
Actually, I’m rather sorry to see this settlement. All the media hype and nonsense, plus the fears of politicians of losing their service, seemed to be greatly contributing to patent reform momentum and to the Supreme Court taking more patent cases.
But at least the belated but initially effective RIM reexaminations of the patents in suit served to publicly demonstrate reexamination effectiveness in lowering settlement expectations. And without all the lawsuit publicity the reportedly cited obscure prior art Norwegian university publications would probably never have surfaced.
On the Reexaminations: A settlement could include a provision that NTP must return RIM's money if the patents were eventually invalidated. However, considering NTP's stance thus far, such a provision would be exceedingly unlikely. Consequently, I expect that the continuing reexamination of NTP's patents at the PTO will become more of a curiosity than a business concern. The only way that NTP can stop the reexamination process would be to capitulate to the PTO and thus abandon the patents.