BlackBerry to lead to patent law reform

March 6, 2006 at 10:50 AM
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NEW YORK, March 6 (UPI) -- The settlement of a patent dispute between the maker of BlackBerrys and a tiny patent-holding firm is expected to lead to U.S. patent law reform.

Canada's Research in Motion Ltd. agreed to pay NTP Inc. $612.5 million to settle litigation by NTP that RIM was infringing its patents to run its popular BlackBerry personal communication devices.

The size of the settlement -- which came despite the U.S. Patent Office revoking NTP's patents -- has begun producing calls for updating U.S. patent law, The Wall Street Journal said Monday.

"It won't be too long before this brand of litigation triggers a backlash, in the form of patent reform," said Matthew D'Amore, a patent lawyer with Morrison and Foerster.

Brad Smith, general counsel of Microsoft Corp., said: "One lasting impact of the case is that it has turned patent litigation from simply a legal issue into a broader business, commercial and even an economic issue. If the lasting consequence of the case is to broaden awareness and promote the level of debate that we need to have about what it takes to have a healthy patent system, then there is a good side to that."

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