Thursday, February 02, 2006

BlackBerry case(s) across the Atlantic.

According to The Times of London, the High Court of England ruled in favour of T-Mobile and RIM and invalidated InproÂ’s UK Patent (originally filled in EPO as EP 0892947B1) that the Luxembourg-based patent troll had obtained in 1996 on the grounds that it was invalid because of a lack of novelty and because it was "obvious", which followed RIM's victory in the Germany's Federal Patent Court for the same issue. The case referred to a different patent from the American one, but it shows the willingness of the courts to challenge software patents on the basis of lack of novelty.
On the other hand, the American Government has asked the Court to not shut down BlackBerry until a plan to exempt Government users can be worked out. But Judge James R. Spencer has said that he could make a decision on February 24th and repeated hisunwillingnesss to wait for the US Patent and Trademark Office to decide on the validity of the patents in question. The odds are quite high that the USPTO will finally invalidate all five patents, but probably after they cause BlacBerry to be shut down... wait a minute!
A global service that according to the US Department of Justice is vital to the US economy and security might be shut down for infringing a patent that its seems should not have been granted in the first place?! If something like that happened in a Latin American country and an American company was involved, somebody in the US Department would be crying foul and complaining about the lack of legal security and would be asking for the judge to be sacked...

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