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-   -   Patent Office Final Ruling (http://www.blackberryforums.com/rim-stock-legal-discussion/27143-patent-office-final-ruling.html)

jarthurs 02-24-2006 01:30 PM

Patent Office Final Ruling
 
News thread wouldn't let me post this under the News database so I'm posting here. As seen on RIM press release site!

RIM Provides Update on Patent Reexamination Proceeding

All Patents Remaining In Dispute Have Been Rejected

Waterloo, ON - Research In Motion (RIM) (Nasdaq: RIMM; TSX: RIM) confirmed today that it has received a copy of a Final Office Action issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (the “Patent Office”) in the ex parte reexamination of NTP, Inc. Patent #5,436,960. This Final Office Action maintains the outright and complete rejection of all claims in the patent.

All of the 3 patents remaining in dispute in the NTP vs. RIM litigation have now been rejected based in part on prior art not considered in the 2002 trial in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Although NTP may appeal, the rejections reflect the final opinion of the Patent Office’s Central Reexamination Unit that the 3 patents at issue in this case are invalid.

The final rejections were all based on multiple grounds, required unanimous agreement from a panel of 3 senior patent examiners and are expected to withstand all future appeals by NTP.

Patent #6,317,592 contains 6 of the 9 claims at issue in this case and all 6 claims were rejected in the Patent Office ruling disclosed by RIM on February 1, 2006.
Patent #6,067,451 contains 2 of the 9 claims at issue in this case and both claims were rejected in the Patent Office ruling disclosed by RIM on February 22, 2006.
Patent #5,436,960 contains the last of the 9 claims at issue in this case and that claim was rejected in the Patent Office ruling disclosed today.

purephase 02-24-2006 01:41 PM

This is very good news.

digs 02-24-2006 02:16 PM

Nothing like coming down to the wire...

BSheehy 02-24-2006 02:37 PM

This was actually released yesterday...but it's still good news all the same.

BSheehy 02-24-2006 05:03 PM

actually...
 
there appears to have been another episode of rejection today.
-------------------
After half a day of arguments, Judge James Spencer didn’t rule on the injunction requested by patent holder NTP Inc., but at the same time the hearing was happening in Richmond, Virginia, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) ruled that an NTP wireless e-mail central in the case is invalid.

Recent USPTO rulings rejecting this key patent and other patents in the lawsuit don’t cancel out the August 2003 jury ruling in the case, but Bunsow argued that Spencer should consider the USPTO’s actions while ruling on an injunction.
-------------------
??? I just don't understand how a company, RIM in this case, can have a patent infringement jury ruling against them upheld when the patents that the action is based on have been deemed invalid.

I know that it gets convoluted in legal circles, but these case are taking up valuable time on court dockets and costing us (taxpayers) money as well as investors around the world.

Why would this court make any move until the final and appealed to death status of these NTP patents is resolved. In the interim RIM continues to build their compensation fund at 8% of US revenues.

Do we have nothing better to do in our court systems.

BSheehy 02-24-2006 05:13 PM

and if that's not bad enough NTP's motorized pie hole Wallace states the following...

----------------------
NTP lawyer James Wallace said an injunction is needed because RIM continues to act like a “squatter” even after the August 2003 jury verdict in Virginia and after the U.S. Supreme Court in January decided not to hear RIM’s appeal.

“RIM’s conduct continues in the face of the jury verdict … and in the face of being rebuffed by the chief justice and the entire U.S. Supreme Court,” he said.

Wallace also noted RIM’s claims of a work-around for the NTP patents. RIM could use the work-around to make sure government agencies have access to BlackBerry service, he said. Wallace asked the judge to enforce the injunction and give users 30 days to make other arrangements, saying several competing wireless e-mail devices now exist.

Bunsow said RIM’s work-around would take millions of hours to implement.

In December 2004, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit rejected an earlier injunction issued by the Virginia district court. The district court issued the original injunction in August 2003 but stayed the ruling pending appeal.
------------------------

Did you get that? They're leeching off some dead guys idea (no substantive invention) and suggesting that we all go out and reinvest in new hardware, software, implementation and training to prevent any outages. Oh yeah and you have 30 days to do it. How considerate and civic minded of him.

BBDummy 02-24-2006 08:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BSheehy
there appears to have been another episode of rejection today.
??? I just don't understand how a company, RIM in this case, can have a patent infringement jury ruling against them upheld when the patents that the action is based on have been deemed invalid.

Because the patents haven't yet been deemed invalid. In fact, the patents have been affirmatively found to be VALID. Validity is a matter decided by the courts--the patent office merely issues (in theory) claims drawn to patentable subject matter (that is, things that are novel and non-obvious). Thus:

1) NTP owns at least one valid patent claim.
2) RIM infringes that at least one valid patent claim.
3) Therefore, RIM owes NTP money for past damages.
4) Because the claim is still valid and enforceable, RIM can be enjoined from any future infringing conduct.
5) If and when the nature of NTP's property changes, the injunction might change...but nothing in the past will change.

To try an analogy from real property:

Suppose you think you own a 10 foot by 10 foot square of land (claim), and I come along and build a very tiny house on that land for a very tiny person to live in. You go to court for my trespass (infringement). The court decides you do, in fact, own the 10 by 10 square (validity). You'd want rent, right? And you'd probably want that very tiny house gone (injunction), unless you could extract sufficient rent by letting the very tiny person stay there (settlement).

Now suppose that there is an County Realty Administration Panel (yep...the CRAP), which is responsible for deciding who owns what land (Patent Office). Suppose I go there to dispute your ownership (reexam) of the land based on a document by a previous owner that dedicates the part of the land that I built on as a county park (prior art). The CRAP decides that they screwed up in letting you assert ownership of the land, and they issue a new decree that you own less of the land than they originally thought you did (the reexam certificate).

Now I ask you:
1) Up until recently, the CRAP said that you owned the land the tiny person is living on. They've only just now taken it away from you. Do you still want rent for everything happening before? Of course you do. (damages for past infringement)

2) Can you now kick the tiny person off? Nope. If he was previously kicked off, can he come back? Yep. So can anybody else. The public domain just got bigger.

BES admin 02-24-2006 10:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BBDummy
Now I ask you:
1) Up until recently, the CRAP said that you owned the land the tiny person is living on. They've only just now taken it away from you. Do you still want rent for everything happening before? Of course you do. (damages for past infringement)

2) Can you now kick the tiny person off? Nope. If he was previously kicked off, can he come back? Yep. So can anybody else. The public domain just got bigger.

That's a great analogy, however, why would you deserve money (rent) for something (property) you never had the rights to own in the first place?

Just because the CRAP screwed up doesn't mean you have the right to claim you are owed anything for the time you believed you owned the property.

That's like saying you were sold a car, which turned out to be stolen and rented it to someone for a month. The cops find out you have the car and take it away. Now you want to sue the guy who rented the car from you for the rest of the money he owes you, because you think you deserve the money for renting it...
NO, you owe any money you actually collected to the person who's car it was to begin with and you are entitled to NOTHING further from the guy who rented the car from you under false pretenses, weather you knew they were false or not. If you have beef, you take the guy who sold you a stolen car to court to get your money back. If you are lucky, he still has it and you get it back, but you don't get any profit from the time you THOUGHT you owned the car. It was never yours to profit from.

BBDummy 02-24-2006 11:09 PM

I admit it's not a perfect analogy, but it's the best I could come up with. Intellectual property is a difficult concept, since it's intangible--it's difficult to think of owning an idea in the same way as one would own a car or a house.

The difference between your analogy and mine is that, in yours, you never had title to the car--in other words, you never owned anything, regardless of what you believed. It's sort of like the old saw about buying the Brooklyn Bridge--I can convey to you all of my rights in the Brooklyn Bridge (all none of them) for a certain sum of money. By contrast, in my hypothetical, the CRAP is the absolute arbiter of who owns what real property--if they say you own something, you own it...even if it turns out they were wrong. They actually can convey meaningful legal rights to you, unlike the car thief. Maybe they take it away later, but for as long as you have legal rights, they are enforceable.

(Yes, I do this for a living.)

jibi 02-25-2006 10:05 AM

6,317,592 was not rejected in a final office action a month ago, so I'm not quite sure why RIM is reporting as much. In their press release a month ago, they said that the patent was rejected in what would be comparable to a final office action, which I was to assume was the second phase, leaving the final office action to go (which would be coming shortly).

Carterofmars 02-26-2006 02:54 PM

The judge said Friday that he's not concidering the Patent office's determinations, which will be appealed and tied up in the courts for years. And he said directly to the RIMM attorney's, " We can't avoid this truth: a jury has decided this already." That was paraphrased but was close enough... it was a warning to RIMM to settle fast. He's going to force an injunction, maybe partial but it will hurt RIMM and there stock very badly.

jibi 02-26-2006 05:45 PM

One thing for YOU to keep in mind is that NO final office rejection of ANY patent EVER has been appealed successfully to the USPTO. The Judge would be stupid NOT to consider final rejections, but all will be fine even if he does rule for an injunction, albeit a very brief and temporary one at that. End of the road or not in the justice system, this case is far from being over.

BBDummy 02-26-2006 06:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jibi
One thing for YOU to keep in mind is that NO final office rejection of ANY patent EVER has been appealed successfully to the USPTO.

Speaking from personal experience, I have to disagree with you. Unless you mean in a reexam, in which case I don't know, though I'm quite skeptical.

stealthx32 02-26-2006 07:34 PM

Why is the judge so insistent that he has to rule on the juror's decisions? The fact of the matter is, the patents were invalid, and the decision was made on false premises. It should be declared a mistrial, no?

jibi 02-26-2006 07:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by stealthx32
Why is the judge so insistent that he has to rule on the juror's decisions? The fact of the matter is, the patents were invalid, and the decision was made on false premises. It should be declared a mistrial, no?

At the time this went to trial, and over the last 3.5 years, the patents have been valid. NTP is due SOME money from RIM, but not 5.7% of all potential earnings until 2012, or whatever they're asking for ($3b or something like that). I think they will likely get about $100m from RIM, and thats simply the guys from Waterloo being generous.

BBDummy, I'm speaking on appeals post-re-examination. There has never been a successful appeal of a patent once its been rejected by the patent office during the re-examination period.

BBDummy 02-26-2006 07:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jibi
BBDummy, I'm speaking on appeals post-re-examination. There has never been a successful appeal of a patent once its been rejected by the patent office during the re-examination period.

Interesting tidbit. I'll have to keep that in mind in case I'm ever on Jeopardy...

hf1khal 02-26-2006 11:53 PM

I still have not read anything as to the chances of RIM being able to appeal based on the latest rejections. Would this not be a cause to file for an appeal?

jibi 02-27-2006 12:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hf1khal
I still have not read anything as to the chances of RIM being able to appeal based on the latest rejections. Would this not be a cause to file for an appeal?

They cannot appeal any further, unfortunately. However, if the patents are ruled invalid, and NTP exhausts their appellate options (to the USPTO then within the courts), any injunction in place will be removed.

hf1khal 02-27-2006 12:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jibi
They cannot appeal any further, unfortunately. However, if the patents are ruled invalid, and NTP exhausts their appellate options (to the USPTO then within the courts), any injunction in place will be removed.

Thanks. I was hoping it would be a gorund for appeal as the patent office said that their decision was based on prior which was not considered durring the court proceedings. I thought this would have been a technicality that RIM could use. Again thank you.

jibi 02-27-2006 12:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hf1khal
Thanks. I was hoping it would be a gorund for appeal as the patent office said that their decision was based on prior which was not considered durring the court proceedings. I thought this would have been a technicality that RIM could use. Again thank you.

I think the recent rejections of the patent office should be taken into account, but it appears that is simply wishful thinking. There are two very different processes in play right now, and one of them is coming to an end of the appeals while the other is simply about to start its appeals (the USPTO appeals won't last too long, whereas the judicial appeals process will likely be the delay, if any). Judge Spencer has made it known that he wants the case off his plate, but ignoring the public interest, the millions/billions of dollars at stake, the patent office rejections, the recent prior art findings to refute the patent claims at the heart of the case, etc., is a bit ridiculous and premature.


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