Research In Motion (RIM) claims it has developed a workaround for its BlackBerry wireless e-mail service that bypasses the technology it is currently in a patent dispute over.
If RIM fails to win its legal battle with patent holder NTP, the company said it be able to continue the Blackberry service. "Should RIM not be successful in its enforcement proceedings, there is also the option for RIM to implement a modified BlackBerry solution that works around the NTP claim construction. I am unable to expand further on this work-around solution due to confidentiality restrictions at this time," said RIM Chairman and co-CEO Jim Balsillie.
Last week, RIM announced that a previous settlement deal with NTP was at risk. The two companies are quarreling over the terms and scope of an agreement they signed in March under which RIM would pay NTP $450 million to settle the dispute.
Two US courts had previously determined that RIM's BlackBerry push e-mail service infringes on patents NTP holds for a wireless e-mail system. The BlackBerry service allows IT departments to deliver corporate e-mail stored behind a firewall to wireless devices such as RIM's own BlackBerry devices or a number of other personal digital assistants and mobile phones.
In March, RIM and NTP announced they had reached an agreement to settle their legal dispute and entered into a licensing agreement that granted RIM a perpetual license to the patents. The companies have however been unable to finalise their agreement, blaming each other for unwillingness to stick to the terms of the initial agreement. RIM believes the original agreement granted it a fully paid license to NTP's technology, while NTP believes that the original joint press release that contained the language about the fully paid perpetual license did not constitute a final agreement.
The US patent office has already overturned two NTP patents after a re-examination of the claims within the patents, and RIM expects the other three patents at issue to be re-examined by the end of this year.