Other News


Apropos to previous posts on the fallout from al-Askari, Juan Cole points out that while central Iraq is under a curfew, large demonstrations are gearing up in Pakistan and Lebanon. So we'll see how and how far this spreads.

On a completely unrelated item, I would point out that I know a thing or two about modern technology, but this is not a technology blog. There are lots of those. Still, this is just too rich to let pass. The background is that Research In Motion (RIM), the maker of those Blackberry text-email-pager thingies, is being sued for patent infringement by a patent holding company called NTP, Inc. Now NTP has no products; its business model is to collect technology patents, hang onto them, and launch lawsuits if someday someone manages to make money using techniques even remotely related to the claims of their patents. Now it's trying to get a judge to shut down the Blackberry service unless RIM gives them lots of cash. There are lots of firms like this, and they're just one visible example of the many ways in which the USA's patent laws are broken. That said, here's what an NTP spokesman had to say after a hearing today:

"We want to keep you in business," James Wallace, an attorney for NTP, said in reference to RIM. "It's just time to pay up. What we have got here is a squatter."

Squatter, says the guy using second-hand patents for corporate blackmail? Like I said. Too rich to let pass.


Rumor flying around the net Friday afternoon was that RIM has a technical workaround that has nearly cleared the patent office so if they don't get what they want in a ruling, they just go with Plan B.

This rumour is true, according to RIM's own statements. It does involve downloading a software upgrade to the Blackberry devices, but anyone sophisticated to be using one should have either the ability to do this, or a technical support staff on call.

NTP has already announced that if they switch to this backup technology, they will file lawsuits to block it, as well. They are not even attempting to provide a rationale, though.

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This page contains a single entry by Milligan published on February 24, 2006 8:32 PM.

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