15 December 2005

CrackBerry Jam

The Economist offers a cool-headed and correct assessment (subscription required) of the Research in Motion (RIM)/NTP patent saga:
The easy conclusion is that the patent system is being cynically used to wreck the livelihoods of honest folks who are the true innovators. That's wrong. The chief lesson of the BlackBerry saga is that patents are there to be protected. If the system is to have any meaning, its integrity must be upheld for the sake of the businesses that rely on it and the public that benefits from innovation.

. . . .

Distressed BlackBerry users argue that too many of the world's workers rely on the device for the service to be shut down. But many of their jobs depend on the principle at stake in this case—that the courts should protect intellectual property because it rewards inventors by conferring a real title to an intangible asset. Business requires confidence that intellectual property will be respected and infringers brought to justice, regardless of whether the litigant is using the patent or not. Only with that security will firms patent and license their inventions, thus allowing others to use their ideas.


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