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NTP rejects RIM settlement offer

Proposed deal 'unacceptable'

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NTP has described a revised settlement offer made by legal rival Research in Motion (RIM) as "unacceptable" and told the world the two companies are not talking to each other.

So said NTP co-founder Don Stout this past Friday, the Reuters news agency reports.

According to Stout, RIM put its offer in writing on Thursday. "They have responded yesterday in a manner which is unacceptable so we're not negotiating," Stout said.

Stout's response is unlikely to be welcomed by Judge James Spencer, who continues to preside over the legal battle between NTP and RIM after the US Court of Appeals sent the case back to his District Court. Judge Spencer has already ruled the original settlement reached earlier this year by RIM and NTP as unenforceable, and would like the two firms to reach a new deal.

Stout's comments suggest that's unlikely, at least while the two companies continue with brinkmanship tactics. RIM has the advantage: the US Patent Office has said it doesn't believe NTP's patents stand scrutiny; and the company itself claims it has technology to side-step that intellectual property while it remains valid.

That said, RIM hasn't said how it plans to work around the problem. Presumably it's a more costly solution than the company cares to admit, otherwise it would have implemented the fix already and saved itself all the bother and cost of the spat with NTP. Only the pressure of a injunction against offering patent-infringing product is sufficient to justify the cost, and even then, RIM may prefer to deal with NTP - which is the outcome NTP appears to want. ®

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