Time to Protect Your Intellectual Property

Article excerpt

Byline: By Mark Whitehead

News from America shows Blackberry's dominance of the mobile email market continues to be under attack on a variety of fronts.

Device manufacturers Research in Motion has, for four years, been embroiled in patent litigation in America and Europe with NTP Inc.

NTP argues that some of RIM's key Blackberry products infringe NTP's patents relating to wireless communications in email systems.

The argument has been brewing since 1999 and in 2002 a US District Court jury found in favour of NTP, awarding it $28m in damages.

In addition, the court agreed that an injunction should be imposed on RIM preventing use of the disputed technology, effectively crippling the Blackberry system.

In fact, the judge in the case agreed not to impose the injunction until an appeal was resolved. At this point RIM decided to settle the dispute out of court and paid NTP $450m by way of advance royalties.

Unfortunately, the parties failed to agree the details of how RIM would be allowed to use the patents and this led to a second bout of litigation.

Until the matter is decided next Friday,February24 Blackberry users in the States face the threat of the system being shut down. …