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RIM v. NTP, Yet Again

The BlackBerry's ill-fated patent dispute with NTP takes a final turn

3 min read

”Fate, it seems, is not without a sense of irony.” Laurence Fishburne’s mysterious character Morpheus uttered this line in the 1999 movie The Matrix. Fate has certainly been showing off its sense of irony in the notorious litigation over Research in Motion’s BlackBerry smartphone.

NTP, in Virginia, sued the Canadian-based Research in Motion (RIM) for patent infringement in 2001 based on a contention that the BlackBerry service infringed a family of five U.S. patents that NTP held. At trial, a jury determined that NTP’s patents were valid, that the defendant’s BlackBerry service had infringed NTP’s patents, and that RIM’s infringement was willful. The trial judge enhanced the jury’s compensatory damage award because of the jury’s finding of willful infringement and also awarded attorney fees to NTP. The trial judge also ordered a permanent injunction against RIM that would have barred RIM from further manufacture, use, sale, and/or importation of all accused BlackBerry systems, software, and handhelds. The injunction, which would have interrupted BlackBerry service to millions of subscribers in the United States, including members of Congress and senior government officials, was stayed while RIM appealed the verdict. That reprieve was short-lived.

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Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

His pivot from defense helped a tiny tuning-fork prevent SUV rollovers and plane crashes

11 min read
Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

In 1992, Asad M. Madni sat at the helm of BEI Sensors and Controls, overseeing a product line that included a variety of sensor and inertial-navigation devices, but its customers were less varied—mainly, the aerospace and defense electronics industries.

And he had a problem.

The Cold War had ended, crashing the U.S. defense industry. And business wasn’t going to come back anytime soon. BEI needed to identify and capture new customers—and quickly.

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