[2006-02-10] RIM offers last minute NTP patent deal
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RIM offers last minute NTP patent deal
Fourteen days left before dispute comes to court
Research in Motion has momentarily allayed fears that its US service could be shut down, by offering to negotiate a deal with patent holding firm NTP.
If successful such a move would allow RIM's BlackBerry email device to continue operating in the US, even if it loses the looming patent case.
Full details of the proposed deal have not been disclosed, but RIM has stated that it is willing to "generously compensate" NTP.
However, it has also referred to NTP's offer to license the disputed technology as "untenable".
RIM has 14 days before a court hearing on NTP's request for an injunction to halt its BlackBerry service.
Meanwhile, NTP seemed unfazed by the announcement and questioned why RIM did not just go ahead and make the software changes for a workaround announced yesterday. NTP further suggested that the BlackBerry vendor is using bully tactics.
Peter Misek, an analyst at Canaccord Adams, described the announcement as part of a "high stakes poker game".
If RIM loses the patent battle it could mean shutting off more than three million US BlackBerry subscribers.
NTP sued RIM for patent infringement in 2002 and won an injunction in 2003 to shut down the US service. That injunction was stayed pending appeals, and the court has issued several rulings since.