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BlackBerry Settles Patent Dispute

The long-running patent dispute between NTP and BlackBerry was settled Friday, with NTP agreeing to drop all claims in exchange for $612.5 million. This has been a bizarre case ---- BlackBerry lost a patent infringement trial a couple years back, and after exhausing various legal maneuvers, was about to find out if an injunction to shut down its service was going to be ordered.

During the same period, the Patent Office has re-examined many of NTP's patents, and found most or all of them to be invalid. However, the judicial proceedings and those of the Patent Office haven't been aligned. Therefore, BlackBerry might have found itself with a shut down order from the court this week, even though, in the end, it might be vindicated on the original dispute.

Faced with that uncertainty, and the growing prospect of customer defections to competing technologies, BlackBerry apparently decided that paying over $600 million to settle was the best decison for its business.