Blackberry maker Research in Motion and patent owner NTP finally settled over claims of patent infringement, freeing emergency response teams, government employees and corporate users from fears that Blackberry would just be black.
The settlement is for $612.5 million, made even though the Patent Office had started overturning several of NTP's patents. The settlement was hard to swallow for RIM co-chief executive James Balsillie, AP reports.
[He] said the company was "taking one for the team," sparing its customers and partners the uncertainty of litigation.
"We're happy to do that to support the team, but do we feel good about it? No." Balsillie said.
The judge leaned heavily on RIM to settle, according to observers.
At the hearing Friday, Judge James R. Spencer expressed impatience with RIM and urged a settlement.
"He basically questioned the sanity of RIM and said it wasn't acting very rationally," said Rod Thompson, patent attorney at Farella, Braun and Martel in San Francisco. "His prodding of the parties worked."
Balsillie sounds ready to sound the alarum for patent reform - so maybe something positive will come out of the whole mess now, Newsweek's Stephen Levy suggests.
[Quoting Balsillie:] "The chance that those patents will survive are zero." The lesson? "There's an urgent need for patent reform. We don't feel good about this."