It’s good to see that the Patent Office has come to RIM’s rescue by hinting that it will be rejecting all of NTP’s patents in February. It seems that RIM’s gamble paid off. At this point, it would be an extremely boneheaded judge who would issue an injunction given that NTP now looks almost certain to lose on the merits. And that means that RIM has little reason to settle, and it’s looking increasingly likely that NTP won’t get a dime.
That’s heartening, but I hope this isn’t the end of the story. Policymakers ought to take this as an object lesson in the problems with the patent status quo. If NTP’s patents were invalid, then RIM shouldn’t have had to spend 4 years in court defending itself against charges of infringing them. Something’s busted and needs to be fixed.