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05 Mar 06. The last-minute settlement that has prevented a shutdown of the BlackBerry mobile e-mail service is unlikely to put an end to the push for reform to US patent legislation that the case has helped to spark, legal experts said. The $612.5m payment by Research in Motion, maker of the BlackBerry, to end the patent infringement case brought by a small Virginia firm, NTP, was greeted with relief by the service’s users in the US, many of whom are senior business executives and financiers. “It is more than a technology, it is an addiction,” Marc Benioff, chief executive of Californian software company Salesforce.com and one of the many executives tied to the gadget, typed into his portable device shortly after the settlement was announced. While Friday’s settlement ends a legal threat to a widely used technology service, however, the high-profile case has probably already done enough to push forward the case for patent law to be reformed, experts said. The threat to the BlackBerry has highlighted issues such as “whether the [US Patent and Trademark Office] needs more resources, whether it’s too slow or whether injunctions are a good remedy in patent cases,” said Carl Tobias, law professor at the University of Richmond. “Congress may end up legislating on some of these issues.” John Carson, a partner of San Diego law firm Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear, said the case had drawn the attention of legislators in Washington to weaknesses in the US patent system that had made it possible for small companies with intellectual property claims to hold successful technologies hostage. “You can not only threaten an industry, you can threaten consumers – and some of them are politicians,” he said. According to RIM, all of the disputed patents held by NTP have suffered an initial rejection after scrutiny by the Patent Office, with the most recent rejections coming late last month. However, NTP’s patents remain valid until a final decision on its intellectual property rights, which could take years to resolve. (Source: FT.com)
07 Mar 06. Savi Technology announced the release of a new low-profile version of its flagship active, data rich RFID tag for military and commercial container shipments in particularly harsh supply chain operating environments. Called the Savi Tag ST-656, the ISO container door tag comes in a new U-shaped form factor that clamps tightly onto the left door of the container, enabling the RFID electronics to be protected on the inside of the container while a low-profile plate on the outside contains an antennae that communicates with fixed or mobile reader networks. The flat external plate also contains a beeper for audio alerts of the tag’s location and status. The ST-656 was developed in close collaboration with a number of Savi customers, including multiple organizations in the U.S. Department of Defense, such as the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Defense Logistics Agency and the Product Manager for Joint Automatic Identification Technologies. The combination of a low external profile and the protected RFID components reduces the risk of damage to tags in harsh operating environments while retaining the same performance and features of the Savi Tag ST-654, which has become the standard active, data-rich tag providing real-time visibility of military supplies for the DoD and other allied defense organizations.
08 Mar 06. The Aegis-equipped cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG-70) successfully launched a Standard Missile (SM)-3 with a cooperatively engineered, experimental nosecone. The experimental nosecone is the result of joint cooperative research by the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), Japan Defense Agency (JDA) and U.S. and Japanese industry. Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT – News), as the U.S. Navy’s
combat systems engineering agent for the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) System, provided the system engineering to integrate t