The battle between RIM, the makers of BlackBerry, and NTP over patents just got uglier. After their initial settlement was rejected by Judge James Spencer, RIM made a new settlement offer to NTP on Thursday. It didn’t take long for them to receive a response. On Friday NTP called the settlement “unacceptable”. Don Stout, the co-founder of NTP, says that the companies are no longer negotiating.
This latest move is clearly a case of brinkmanship. NTP seems to be holding out for the best possible deal, but it is a strategy that could backfire. First, Judge Spencer is overseeing the case and he wants a deal to be reached. The U.S. Patent Office has also said that some of the NTP patents don’t withstand scrutiny. Finally, RIM says that it has technology that can sidestep the areas of contention while still allowing them to offer their services.
If they are taking this approach, though, NTP must feel that it is easier for RIM to settle than it is for them to find a way around the problem. Perhaps NTP knows that the new RIM solution is more expensive than RIM would like to admit.
That’s all speculation at this point, but what is certain is that this whole mess is hurting sales of BlackBerry devices and making loyal users very uncomfortable. They won’t rest easy until the situation is resolved.