Enterprises should halt business-critical deployments of BlackBerry devices and investments until its maker, RIM clarifies its legal position with regards to its patent tussle with NTP, Gartner is advising. The market research and consulting firm issued its recommendation after a US federal judge’s decision last week opened the door to a possible injunction that would stop sales of BlackBerry mobile email devices, and shut down the BlackBerry service, in the US.
Judge James Spencer of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia last week denied RIM’s motion to enforce an agreement with NTP to settle the case. He also refused a RIM motion to stop the court proceedings in NTP’s patent lawsuit against it while the US Patent and Trademark Office re-examines NTP’s patents.
The judge ruled that the settlement agreement reached in March of this year between the companies is unenforceable and that his court cannot suspend the case during a patent re-examination that could take years.
As a result, four Gartner analysts published a research brief on Monday alerting current and prospective enterprise RIM customers to “stop or delay all mission-critical BlackBerry deployments and investments in the platform until RIM’s legal position is clarified”.
Gartner is also advising customers to pressure RIM into making public its workaround plans for preventing disruption to its service while bypassing the patents in question. Another option Gartner says enterprises can consider is to migrate critical BlackBerry-based applications to another platform, such as laptops with wireless cards.