Thursday, December 22, 2005

USPTO INVALIDATING NTP PATENTS = POTENTIAL BIG MESS FOR SETTLEMENT: Since reports have surfaced over the invalidation of NTP's patents, one point that doesn't get mentioned is that, if anything, the invalidation of the NTP patents will likely halt any progress in the ongoing settlement with RIM.

Why? You can't "settle" a reexamination proceeding.

Since reexamination proceedings are technically a matter of public policy (i.e., sparing the public from "bad patents"), reexaminations must be taken to their conclusion in the PTO, absent some parallel ruling in court that addresses the same issues being considered by the PTO. Since this isn't the case with NTP, even if RIM settles with NTP today, the reexamination will continue.

And since it looks like NTP will take a major hit, RIM has little incentive to settle. Even if NTP appeals the rejections, the subsequent workload will be taken up by NTP's attorneys and the Solicitor's Office in the PTO - RIM won't have to run up more legal fees waiting for a final decision.

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