NTP’s existing settlement terms unacceptable


Research In Motion Ltd. said on Thursday that patent holding company NTP Inc.’s existing offer to settle a legal battle, which could shut down its BlackBerry e-mail service in the United States, would not have allowed it to carry on its business.

A court will consider NTP’s request for an injunction on Friday.

“When they took their final position on here’s what we’ll do it wasn’t about money, they wouldn’t give us terms that would allow us to carry on our business,” RIM Co-CEO Jim Balsillie told an RBC Capital Markets communications, media and technology conference. “We took it to an outside licensing counsel and they said we’d be crazy to take these terms.”

NTP countered that is has offered a license that protects RIM’s customers, carriers, and partners.

“NTP put this in its January 17, 2006 public court filings so that everyone can see for themselves how it protects everyone,” NTP attorney Kevin Anderson said in a statement. “NTP just wants global peace between the parties.”

Balsillie said RIM’s workaround technology, which it says will allow BlackBerry service to continue for more than 3 million subscribers in the U.S. even if RIM loses the patent fight, is “ready to go.”

“We’ve got dozens of customers using it and we haven’t had one complaint,” he noted.

“Our approach is very simple. We need something reasonable where it gives us the scope to run our business,” Balsillie said of a settlement.

“But the truth of it is, all they’re trying to do is jig a timing game, because these patents will go in the garbage. The chance of them surviving is zero. Like they’re gone.”