Say what you want about patent infringement suits, but at least the BlackBerry case has drama.
A federal judge, clearly impatient with the long-running case, could issue an injunction soon on U.S. sales and service of the wireless e-mail device.
Most patent suits are dismissed or settled long before they reach this stage. Remarkably, neither BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd. nor tiny patent holder NTP Inc. have shown signs of backing down. In effect, they’re daring each other to blink first and settle.
Governments, businesses and individual users are growing unnerved by the standoff. Although the odds of an actual shutdown are low, conflicting opinions about the possible outcomes and the spin from both sides have created a confusing picture.
James R. Spencer, a no-nonsense U.S. district judge widely respected in the legal community, now finds himself in the unusual position of weighing an injunction against RIM even as the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is expected to finally rescind NTP’s patents.
“These patents are … guaranteed to go in the garbage,” James Balsillie, co-chief executive of Canada’s RIM, said in December. “At the end of the day, our position is real simple: Let the system work.”