James Balsillie, chairman and co-chief executive officer of RIM, called on U.S. lawmakers yesterday to fix a system that he says boxed the company into one of the largest legal settlements in U.S. history.
“RIM’s case is a prime example of why patent reform is critical,” Mr. Balsillie told the House of Representatives subcommittee on the courts, the Internet and intellectual property.
He said any reforms will come too late for RIM, but maybe not for other technology companies like it. “RIM hopes to advance meaningful patent law reform, thus helping to assure that no other company experiences what we endured over the past five years.”
In his testimony and in more detailed written remarks, Mr. Balsillie cast RIM as the poster child for what can happen when the system is too heavily skewed toward patent holders.
Mr. Balsillie complained that far too many bogus patents are issued, impairing the patent office’s ability to sort out the good ones from the worthless ones during the later review process.
He pointed out that NTP’s patents, for example, contained far too many supporting claims that made them exceedingly hard to defend and for the patent office to review. NTP’s eight original patents, for example, contained an average of 240 claims each, including one with 665 claims, Mr. Balsillie said.
He also took a swipe at the judge in its case, U.S. District Court Judge James Spencer, complaining that he completely ignored later findings by the patent office that the disputed patents were largely bogus.