Their View: Companies can coexist for benefit of all markets
If that ubiquitous hand-held gadget, the BlackBerry, is put out of commission due to a recent Supreme Court ruling in a patent case, its devoted users - make that “obsessed” users - will need a replacement, and soon.
A Blackberry can make it a monumental challenge to gain the undivided attention of a person who carries one, be it a corporate mogul or high-ranking government official.
But as a mobile lifeline, the BlackBerry has become more than a convenience. For emergency medical personnel, police, or disaster-response officials, such technology can mean the difference between life and death.
That's why it's in the public's best interest for the Canadian makers of the BlackBerry - Research in Motion (RIM) - to reach a settlement with the Virginia-based company that says it holds the U.S. patent for the device, NTP Inc.
Research in Motion officials also hold out hope they can get work-around software up and running to keep the three million U.S. BlackBerry users going. The hand-held, wallet-sized devices field e-mail and phone calls, and store data.
In refusing to intervene in the case, the Supreme Court let stand a lower-court jury ruling that said RIM infringed on patents held by NTP. Now the case goes back to Richmond-based U.S. District Court Judge James R. Spencer, who could order an injunction banning most BlackBerry devices in this country, though not abroad.
It's not all grim news for techies.
Given its potential to hobble the BlackBerry, the legal case could have a beneficial effect - by spurring other choices for hand-held users. Seeing a potential opening, competing technology firms have developed their own devices headed for the market.
The ramifications in the arcane world of patent law are less clear.
- The Philadelphia (Pa.) Inquirer