Friday, March 03, 2006

'CrackBerry' Patent Suit Settled

You can file this under the why did they let this thing drag out for so long and generate ill will and unecessary stress among enterprise customers category. The RED HERRING reports that Research In Motion has finally agreed to settle with NTP over the long-running patent case and pay $612.5 million "to eliminate any further court proceedings between the companies." According to the article:

The settlement and licensing agreement relates to all of the patents that NTP has claimed and cover all of RIM’s services, products, and technology. RIM and its partners are able to sell BlackBerry products free and clear of any claim by NTP. The agreement also covers any claims that NTP would have against wireless carriers, channel partners, suppliers, or customers of RIM. It also covers third-party products and services used in connection with RIM’s products and services.
Roger Kay a Endpoint Technologies Associates said, "Now RIM can get back to business,. The lawsuit slowed RIM’s momentum enough to allow competitors to gain some ground. Now that some of the competition has established beachheads, they could erode RIM’s market share."

Brad Akyuz at Current Analysis said, "Now RIM can put more time and energy to focus on getting cool devices on the market," pointing out that "competitors, particularly Microsoft, had formed major alliances with handset vendors such as Samsung." Akyuz remarked RIM had “allowed competitors to launch a massive attack. RIM will definitely have to work harder because it lost some credibility."

In Computing, Kevin Burden at IDC noted that "even though RIM faces the risk of spending money on a license for patents that could be invalidated, the lawsuit was scaring away customers and as a result had an impact on RIM's revenues. He said, "This is probably money well spent. It's a boatload of money for patents that are likely not to be worth anything, but it's worth it if it removes the cloud over RIM's future."

Someone needs to make a Mastercard commercial about this fiacso. I don't know the numbers, but it should go something like this:

RIM Legal bills: $XX million
RIM Government lobbying: $XX million
Customers' Lost Productivity Trying to Figure Out Alternatives: $XXX Million
Settlement with NTP: $612.5 million
Time wasted and Damage to RIM's Reputation: Priceless