Research In Motion was hit yesterday with yet another patent infringement case filed with the International Trade Commission (ITC) in Washington. The new case was filed by Prism Technologies LLC, a company based in Omaha, Nebraska. Prism is claiming that the BlackBerry devices, desktop software, and servers infringe a patent for an authentication system that can be used with services conducted over the Internet.
Prism may be trying to force RIM into settling the dispute. The ITC has the power of a “nuclear bomb” in a patent dispute because the agency can order U.S. customs officials to prevent goods from entering the country, said Lyle Vander Schaaf, a patent lawyer with Bryan Cave in Washington who specializes in ITC cases, but isn’t involved in this one.
“It’s not really the damages that force you to settle; it’s the threat” of an import ban, Vander Schaaf said in an interview with Bloomberg. “We’re seeing more cases filed by companies who are frustrated with how things are going in district court or frustrated with the other party.”
The ITC also has the power to halt sales of already imported BlackBerry devices. The ITC has, in the past, ruled that a transmission signal from another country is consider an import, thus meaning RIM would have to stop sending electronic signals to your BlackBerry's.
Apparently, the ITC is quicker in their probes (only about 15months), compared to civil suits that can take years to settle. If the ITC finds Prism to be the victor in this case, those in the U.S. may no longer be able to use BlackBerry's! I wonder if President Obama could change this? Haha, he might be just as upset as the rest of us! What would you do if you couldn't ever use a BlackBerry again?