01 Jun 2006
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Sending a Message


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In March, bankers, lobbyists, lawyers, and other messaging-intensive professionals heaved a collective sigh of relief and kept on thumbin’ like nobody’s business. Thanks to $612.5 million shelled out by the Canadian company Research In Motion (RIM) over a patent dispute, a shutdown was averted for its 3.2 million BlackBerry handheld e-mail devices in the U.S. market.

RIM was essentially forced to settle the case because the threat of a court-ordered injunction that would halt BlackBerry operations was spooking established and potential customers. Said RIM chairman and co-CEO Jim Balsillie (MBA ’89) of the settlement, “We were definitely feeling the effect of the case on our business. We took one for the team” (Steven Levy column, Newsweek, March 13, 2006). Observers have noted that NTP, the Virginia-based patent-holding company receiving the payout, has no products and no factories and that many of it patents were subsequently rejected after being reviewed by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

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Featured Alumni

Featured Alumni

Class of MBA 1989, Section B

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