Gartner: Defer BlackBerry devices deployments

Enterprises should defer business-critical deployments of BlackBerry devices and investments until its maker, Research In Motion, (RIM) resolves its legal status with regards to its patent battle with NTP, warns Gartner.

  • E-Mail
By  Angela Sutherland Published  December 12, 2005

Enterprises should defer business-critical deployments of BlackBerry devices and investments until its maker, Research In Motion, (RIM) resolves its legal status with regards to its patent battle with NTP, warns Gartner. The market research and consulting firm’s warning follows a new court ruling in which a US federal court has denied a motion by RIM for a stay of proceedings in the patent infringement suit filed against it by the patent holding company NTP. RIM had requested the stay pending re-examination of NTP's patents by the US Patent Office. The court has also ruled the US$450 million term sheet agreement between RIM and NTP, announced in March 2005, is not enforceable. Gartner says such an injunction would force RIM to shut down its US operations; public safety, governmental operations and government contractors may be exempt. US BlackBerry users would lose messaging services — though BlackBerry telephones would continue to function — and international users would lose message service while traveling in the US. Gartner believes RIM and NTP will reach a settlement within three weeks. Such an agreement would be in both companies' interests, and any long-term negative impact on RIM would likely be minimal. However, it says if no settlement is reached, RIM is likely to appeal to the US Supreme Court. The company could also implement a planned "work-around" solution that bypasses the disputed patents. This path is also highly problematical, because the details of the work-around remain secret. RIM claims its work-around is legally sound, but its history in the courts does not inspire confidence. Moreover, end-user validation and implementation would take time, resulting in a temporary loss of service. Gartner says existing and prospective RIM customers should demand that RIM's work-around plans be made available — in detail and in public — and carefully review their legal and operational impact. It also advises customers not to sign any agreements that could involve them in the RIM/NTP dispute. End-users should also consider alternative solutions for mission-critical applications, but recognise that these offerings, too, may face the threat of NTP patent infringement claims. One solution that is probably not subject to possible NTP claims is the use of laptops with wireless cards, which could be implemented quickly and at low cost. The research firm also says that customers must recognise that alternative solutions may cause transition costs that will be unnecessary if the case is settled. If the applications are not mission-critical, enterprises should not take any action at this stage. However, they should still assess the potential impact of operation outages of unknown duration.

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code