Saturday, December 10, 2005

Analysts Vary on the BlackBerry Suit writes about two separate reports published by Forrester and Gartner on their assessments and recommendations regarding the RIM and NTP situation. As the article states, Ellen Daley at Forrester is "guarded-but-positive" while Todd Kort at Gartner "believes recent court decisions have weighed heavily against RIM's chances." Both do agree "the most likely result is another settlement."

Daley notes the time and cost of fighting in federal court "makes an entry for competitors like Microsoft and Intellisync." Kort added, "On November 30 the judge put things into harsh reality for RIM. Not only did he invalidate the settlement offer RIM made to NTP in March, but he stated he was unwilling to wait for the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to give its final ruling on the validity of NTP's patents."

While Gartner's report recommended "customers stop all investments and deployments of BlackBerry technology until RIM's legal position is clarified," Kort stated, "It wasn't a unanimous decision among [the report's coauthors] that BlackBerry users should freeze deployment. It's hard to tell people in mission-critical deployments, like hospitals, that they have to stop using wireless email."

Daley pointed out that "on the same day the USPTO provided a nonfinal patent rejection of one of the patents being used in the case." This rejection "cripples NTP's original case." Daley also wrote that "Nobody wins if service is shut down. If the judge does rule to enforce the injunction, there would likely be a 30- to 60-day grace period. Of course, it would be corporate suicide for RIM to let the service stop--even if it means paying NTP considerably more than the original $450 million."

Daley recommended customers develop a contingency paln and said, "Business and service will most likely go on as usual, but an injunction is not a zero probability. At worst, planning will be a small waste of time and effort."

Kort recommended looking into alternatives and remarked, "Companies like Good Technology and Intellisync also have messaging solutions, but they are based on NOC as well. Patent technology is like a house with land--you don't have to break into the house for a judge to consider it trespassing."