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Gartner: Non-decision to force settlement

BlackBerry users have reacted to Friday’s judgment on the patent fight between NTP and RIM with relief. They are pleased that US District Court Judge James Spencer did not order a shutdown of the e-mail service and they said they feel renewed hope that a settlement will yet be struck.

The hearing “reinforces our believe that the two parties will now reach a settlement that will resolve this issue,” said Frank Gillman, director of technology at Allen Matkins, a Los Angeles-based law firm with 220 BlackBerry users.

A settlement is still likely, said Ken Dulaney, an analyst at Gartner. “The judge pretty much told them today to find a settlement, and we’ve always said that’s the most likely outcome. Both sides have a lot to gain and a lot to lose.”

Dulaney also said it is significant that Spencer noted in court that RIM had indeed been found by a jury to have infringed on NTP patents. “The judge basically said to RIM that they should not think they can get away scot-free.”

Dulaney urged BlackBerry users to avoid making any drastic moves for a few more days, in case Spencer actually does issue an injunction against RIM that would affect the more than 3 million U.S. users of its BlackBerry service.

NTP had urged the judge to consider a 30-day grace period for users before any injunction he might issue took effect. But Gartner has determined that 30 days would be insufficient to get client and server systems in compliance. “We think a minimum of 90 days is better,” Dulaney said.

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