NTP suggests 30 days before any BlackBerry Cutoff


NTP Inc., the U.S. patent holding company seeking a shutdown of most U.S. BlackBerry sales and service proposed on Tuesday that customers of the portable e-mail device get a 30-day “grace period” before any cut-off. Lawyers for NTP, which is suing BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd. on charges of patent infringement, reiterated their request that the judge impose an injunction unless the two sides reach a settlement.

“NTP’s proposed form of injunction provides a reasonable (30-day) grace period for RIM’s customers and partners to switch to alternative products before the injunction affects them,” NTP said in its court brief.

The injunction proposed by NTP would also exempt federal state and local government users of the BlackBerry, as well as emergency first-responders from any service cut-off.

RIM said in its filing that it would be “difficult, if not impossible” to cut off service to some users, while maintaining it for the government.

Citing the “exceptional public interest” in maintaining uninterrupted BlackBerry service, especially to workers in national security and health and safety, RIM called on U.S. District Judge James Spencer to back away from issuing any injunction and to convene a new trial.

“The public interest here far outweighs NTP’s economic interests, which are fully compensable through damages,” RIM said in its brief.

RIM also said the software “work-around” it had devised to avoid infringing NTP’s patents would cause “concern” among users and service providers because it would require reloading software on servers and the handheld devices.

But NTP downplayed the hardship that RIM’s commercial customers would suffer from a shutdown, saying “there are “a number of licensed alternatives which can fully meet their requirements.”