BlackBerry Maker RIM Develops Software 'Workaround' In Event of Injunction

Research In Motion Ltd., maker of the BlackBerry wireless e-mail device, said Thursday it has made good on its promise to develop a software ``workaround'' that would keep its service running if a court bars the use of its current system in a patent dispute.

NTP Inc., a tiny Arlington, Va.-based company, has convinced a federal jury that RIM's software infringes on its patents, and is now seeking an injunction that would shut down BlackBerry service for private-sector U.S. users. Legal observers have characterized the chance of a shutdown as slim, partly because NTP would benefit more over the long term by exacting royalties from RIM.

In court filings, Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM has said that forcing its users to install new software that works around NTP's patents would be disruptive and prompt some of them to switch to other e-mail providers.

RIM played down those concerns Thursday, saying users would notice no change once the new software was installed. When downloaded, the software would operate as normal, but on a signal from RIM, would switch into workaround mode.

The software is not yet available for downloading, nor did RIM indicate when it would be.

Is this really a viable "workaround," or is it better characterized as a litigation tactic, or "reacharound," for the enlightenment of NTP? I'm just askin' . . . . Details here from the AP via the San Jose Mercury News.