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RIM Announces Workaround in NTP Case 118

Posted by Zonk
from the holding-up-the-sky-like-atlas dept.
Justin Michael writes "RIM announces they have a software solution in the event that the courts rules in favor of NTP. The fix is called their multi-mode edition. Customers are being told that they do not need to take action yet, but would need to install the multi-mode edition on both servers and handhelds." A Reuters article also covers the announcement. From that article: "The company said it will soon begin shipping handsets with the software update in a dormant mode. It will make the update available at www.blackberry.com/workaround at a later, but as yet unspecified, date. RIM said the changes would require software updates, but the new system will deliver the same functions and performance."
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RIM Announces Workaround in NTP Case

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  • by slashbob22 (918040) on Thursday February 09, 2006 @12:07PM (#14677871)
    Just when you thought you were safe, another patent was approved:

    Patent 6666666:
    Title: WEW (Wireless Email Workaround)

    Abstract: A method of using wireless email in another fashion different than the original infringing one.

    What is claimed:
    1. Send Email Differently
    2. The method of claim (1) used to "workaround" another method.

    This one is so generic it must be airtight.
  • Excellent! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Jeian (409916)
    I guess their employees won't be losing their RIM jobs after all.
  • maybe i'm wrong? (Score:4, Informative)

    by rwven (663186) on Thursday February 09, 2006 @12:10PM (#14677927)
    Maybe i'm wrong, but i could have sworn they (RIM) came out with this information several weeks ago...

    Does anyone else remember seeing this elsewhere?
  • by Ctrl-Z (28806) <tim@nOSpam.timcoleman.com> on Thursday February 09, 2006 @12:12PM (#14677953) Homepage Journal
    RIM said the changes would require software updates, but the new system will deliver the same functions and performance.

    If that's the case, why haven't they switched already?
    • I cannot say for certain, but given the current perilous status of the NTP patents, it may just turn out to be unnecessary. It seems the Patent Office is overturning these things, but operating even more slowly than the courts.
    • by Lendrick (314723) on Thursday February 09, 2006 @12:17PM (#14678026) Homepage Journal
      Two possibilities come to mind:

      1. Don't mess with a working system if you don't have to. There may be bugs in the new one, and why expose your users to that unless it's absolutely necessary?
      2. Maybe the new process requires more computing power on the server end.
    • Because that's sending the message of "Hey, guys it's cool! We won't infringe your patent anymore!"
      It's capitulating. You don't give in and change your product just because some guy says he thinks his patent covers your product. You research it, fight it, and THEN if you lose, you've got to change.
      They're just covering their butts IN CASE OF. I think that's wise.
    • An update is required for each handheld, and to each Blackberry Enterprise Server.....

      They have a plan in case they are told to shutdown until they can stop infringing the patent.
      The finger is over the button but only the court will press it.
    • I would guess because
      1) It took them time to test the fix.
      2) They would prefer not to require software updates unless they have to as there is always the "chance" of problems.
    • My read on that statement is that their "workaround" is not a very good alternative to the NTP solution. Like it could even be a bluff or a "duct tape/elmer's glue" sort of solution.

      If their "workaround" worked at all, then it seems that they wouldn't need NTP any more, and would not need to keep trying to bargain with them. They are trying to strengthen their alternatives as part of their bargaining strategy, and in doing so are trying to bring NTP back to the bargaining table.
    • On top of bugs, why expose your users to extra work if you don't have to. This update would require software updates to the blackberry units and to corporate servers and we all know that rolling something out is a pain in the ars.
    • Easy. Patent is on radio-based "push" e-mail. Obvious workaround? Go to a polling system. Downside? Significantly reduced battery life.
      • Easy. Patent is on radio-based "push" e-mail. Obvious workaround? Go to a polling system. Downside? Significantly reduced battery life.

        How does that equate to "the same functions and performance"? I have a feeling that they're not telling the whole story.
    • Because they don't want to unnecessarily force their corporate customers to upgrade their server-side software? Or to unnecessarily obsolete any unupgradable devices? Just a concept.
    • If that's the case, why haven't they switched already?

      It was 3:27 am and Gerry was staring at the little screen, held lovingly, in the palm of his hand. "Oh sweet giver of information!" he breathed, watching the tiny print roll by on his screen. And then, without warning, the characters on the screen began to change, to morph into indecipherable icons. Promptly, the screen went blank, and then new words appeared... "SYSTEM SHUTDOWN. UPGRADE COMMENCING. ESTIMATED DOWNTIME: 17 Hours." Gerry's eyes went wide

    • It may be better to hide the revised service as long as possible so that any future lawsuits will have to wait that much longer to be put into motion. Nothing but bad can be had by rolling this out any earlier than necessary.
  • Damn. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mrchaotica (681592) on Thursday February 09, 2006 @12:14PM (#14677979)
    I was really hoping that this patent dispute would destroy the company -- not because I don't like RIM, but because it'll take something that drastic to get the government's head out of it's ass and notice how fucked up our patent situation is.

    Sigh -- I guess we'll just continue on riding the status quo to oblivion, then...
  • Can't wait (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hoomank (748224) on Thursday February 09, 2006 @12:17PM (#14678032) Homepage
    Until RIM crushes those patent trolls. Without giving them a dime.
  • ...a system for wasting the time of large companies (and putting small ones out of business).

    Hey, maybe I should patent that!
  • NTP to RIM (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    We're sorry but we have the Patent to that technology as well. See you in court again.
  • For those interested in the stock market, this is the time to buy RIM shares. No matter what, that share price will increase with this good announcement. I hope it is not vaporware. Once I certify the news, I am buying.
  • by Spy der Mann (805235) <spydermann,slashdot&gmail,com> on Thursday February 09, 2006 @12:24PM (#14678132) Homepage Journal
    The algorithm does NOT multiply by 2, as stated in the patent. It multiplies by 3, and then substracts the original! As you can see, it's A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT ALGORITHM!
  • Real justice (Score:3, Interesting)

    by casualsax3 (875131) on Thursday February 09, 2006 @12:47PM (#14678452)
    It would be awesome if RIM could not only beat NTP on the patent issue, but go back at them and sue for damage done to their image and stock.

  • I bet the guys at NTP are slapping their forehead, saying "DOH!", and thinking
    'Ya know.. we probably should have settled for boatloads of money when he had
    the chance'.
  • This was said to have happened a long time ago.

    This C|Net article [com.com] is dated June 16 of 2005

    This slashdot blurb [slashdot.org] shows a link to this on Jan 27, 2006 and links to this InformationWeek article stating a workaround. [informationweek.com]

    This is just RIM wanting to quell some fears about being shut down. Execs wild eyed clutching their blackberries worring if they will be cut off is not what RIM wants.

    • Given that it does appear to be old news I wonder why RIM hasn't been putting this news out there more prominently. There is still a lot of hand-wringing among organizations who are heavy Blackberry users and this kind of information would go a long way towards soothing them.

      In fact today's press release it the first mention of it I can find in Blackberry's press releases. Their October 26th, 2005 release about the case makes no mention of it, for example.

      -Coach-
  • I know many here are siding with RIM "by default" because of some philosophical kinship with those who are fighting against patents or whatever, but everything I have read about this case says that RIM have been complete asshats in all of this. On several occasions they had the opportunity to settle for far less money, and they kept escalating and escalating the situation. If you dislike patents, fine - argue agains the patent system in general. But given that it is the law /and that RIM had more than ad
    • I think you are missing the point. NTP is trying to claim that they are due money because they hold a piece of paper that says that they were doing it first. The problem is, NTP doesn't do anything but hold pieces of paper.

      RIM is saying, "We don't owe you anything. You should never have received those pieces of paper, and we will make sure that the issuer investigates the matter."

      The USPTO is invalidating the patents left and right. If (and likely when) the patents are all gone, NTP won't have a leg to
    • Not so. RIM never settled because the claims NTP has against them are bullshit.

      I'm actually quite impressed that they didn't roll over and just cut NTP a check to make them go away, as I'm sure a lot of companies (and people) would be wont to do.

      RIM has played the game very well. The only criticism I've heard of them at all is that, in the past, they were quite aggressive in using their own patents to keep other people out of the portable-email market, so to a certain extent they're getting bitten in the ass by their own tactics. But at least when they were using their patents, they at least were protecting a market; NTP is just doing the corporate equivalent of a mugging.

      However, I have far more respect for them now, given that they've refused to settle and really showed some balls, than I would if they had just let the bunch of shyster lawyers that is NTP (you did know that NTP is just a front set up by an attorney, right?) bleed them for several million bucks.

      Given the "marriages of convenience" that we've been seeing recently in the tech sector -- where it seems a whole lot of companies are willing to get in bed with anyone, including the Chinese government and our own (and at the same time, no less), if it makes them a few bucks -- I find it refreshing that RIM didn't just settle.
      • So whatever happened to the SCO vs IBM lawsuit? This is another case of someone refusing to cave into bogus claims even though caving in and cutting a check would be more convenient.
        • I agree -- IBM was another company that went up a few notches in my book as a result of not caving to an obvious courtroom stickup. I was surprised initially that they didn't just buy SCO wholesale; I'm sure if somehow they had lost, we'd all be calling them fools for not doing so.

          The SCO case, in my opinion, is made slightly more morally complicated by the fact that SCO actually did make a product at one point, but was basically taken over and was dismantled and sunk by a pack of theives. NTP, on the other
    • As the poster above says, I think you miss the point. It's not that anyone thinks that RIM is great and above reproach. Instead, it's just that everyone can agree on how loathsome patent-grabbing litigation firms are.
    • On several occasions they had the opportunity to settle for far less money, and they kept escalating and escalating the situation.

      Right, what assholes. Who do they think they are, demanding their day in court and all? Believing they are innocent until proven guilty? Refusing to pay the required bribe to the company trying to use a submarine patent on them.

      I mean, hey, that's the corrupt system we live under, and they should just have gone along with it.
  • I also submitted this story, and included a quote on the part I found funniest (from the Yahoo! story [yahoo.com] in my submission).

    RIM said it has filed applications for a patent for its workaround, part of a software update called BlackBerry Multi-Mode Edition.

    To answer a couple of other posted questions:

    RIM, which is based in Waterloo, Ontario, said it has developed and tested software workaround designs for all BlackBerry handsets operating in the United States.

    And...

    The company said it will soon begin shipping ha
  • by paladinwannabe2 (889776) on Thursday February 09, 2006 @01:12PM (#14678787)
    The main reason RIM lost the original case is because they created false evidence to try to demonstrate prior art. However, they were caught trying to pull this off in the courtroom. Nothing says "I'm breaking the law and trying to get away with it" like perjury.
  • NTP in YRO? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Kynde (324134) <kyndeNO@SPAMiki.fi> on Thursday February 09, 2006 @02:47PM (#14679925)
    Am I the only one who eagerly opened up this thread to see how this relates to the Network Time Protocol?
    I went -1 and searched for it in vain. I for one am seriously tired of these new jack-ass companies starting to recycle already well established TLAs. What's next? "Sony faces TCP inc. in court over patent infringement"?
  • Completely different at the bottom but completely the same at the top, huh?

    It occurs to me that this could be bollocks, an empty attempt to scare away NTP with a "Yeah, you'll maybe win, and then you'll have wasted all that time and money for nothing."

    There doesn't seem to be any detail on what the actual new technology is (I presume it is, you know, proprietary, or something. And stuff.).
  • Why doesnt RIM stop fighting NTP and just buy them? Wouldnt that make their life easier?
  • Or the other services that charge like GoodLink, etc. If you already have an Exchange server (okay it does require Exchange), wireless capability is free now and works almost as well as Blackberry. With Windows Mobile on the handheld, which is being deployed more now on phones it works great!

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