Over 3million people in America rely on receiving messages on their move via a Blackberry.
But a US judge could today throw the future of RIM’s dinky little mobile phone-cum-email client into doubt, if he rules against the Canadian company in a patent case that has been trundling through the judicial system for over three years.
The web is alive with worst-case scenarios that predict blue-chip execs and government officials will instantaneously turn to piles of dust the minute they lose their constant email connection.
Less worringly, celebrity Blackberry-toters like Madonna and Paris Hilton could find their talent immediately disappears as the network is switched off.
But is it really the end for the Blackberry-flavoured push email phenomenom – and, by implication, Western capitalism? It seems unlikely.
Even if Judge James Spencer rules in the favour of US patent-holder NTP, and orders the suspension of the current Blackberry service, RIM claims it can deliver a software patch that will allow users to continue to have email pushed from their work or home inboxes to their pockets. And the patch, they claim, does not infringe on NTP’s patents.
There’s more good news for Blackberry addicts: the US Patent Office is currently investigating the five disputed patents, and has already ruled against NTP in preliminary hearings. Isn’t US patent law great?
Of course, some British workers are secretly hoping that this case will spell the end for corporate Blackberry accounts, so they can finally have a toilet break without being emailed by the boss about his missing pair of scissors.
Sadly for them, RIM’s UK representative told Stuff that the 1.5m Blackberry users outside the US would be unaffected by the ruling.