Friday, February 10, 2006

BusinessWeek Workaround FAQ

BusinessWeek has a FAQ on the workaround, which includes a description of the main modification that it would put in place:

How does it work?
It would work by changing the part of the network where e-mails are stored. Right now, when someone is out of wireless coverage range and can't immediately get e-mail access, RIM's service stores incoming messages on computers at one of its two network operations centers, or NOCs. When you come back into coverage range, those e-mails are forwarded to you automatically.

Under the workaround, these waiting e-mails would be stored somewhere else -- on the servers that sit behind the firewall of a company or carrier network. A large part of the infringement of the NTP patents is based on the e-mails being stored at the NOC, analysts say. "Conceptually, I think this does get around the patents," says Ken Dulaney, an analyst for researcher Gartner Group, who's following the case and has been briefed by RIM on the workaround. RIM says its legal counsel maintains the workaround doesn't infringe on NTP patents.

The FAQ’s author still sees a settlement between RIM and NTP.

Couldn't RIM just settle and avoid all this hassle?
Many analysts still expect this. A $450 million preliminary settlement agreed upon last March fell apart in June. Some analysts now expect the settlement to be between $650 million and $1 billion Some analysts, including Andrew Neff at Bear Stearns, think the workaround and the PTO review give RIM more leverage to reach a more advantageous settlement.

If the workaround is technically successful and the Judge allows it, wouldn’t this eliminate any need for a settlement?


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