1. Ryan Blundell's Avatar
    From Seattlepi.com

    Blackberry maker pings Hill on patents

    WASHINGTON -- Research in Motion Ltd., the Canadian company that makes the BlackBerry smart phone, spent $890,000 in 2007 to lobby the federal government on patent reform.

    RIM spent $490,000 in the second half of 2007 to lobby on patent reform legislation and on regulatory rules to make more digital wireless handsets accessible to consumers with hearing disabilities, according to a disclosure form posted online Monday by the Senate's public records office.

    The company spent $400,000 in the first six months of 2007 to lobby on the same issues.

    RIM settled a long-running patent dispute with Virginia-based NTP Inc. for $612.5 million in March 2006, and acknowledged then that customers had delayed placing orders due to the threat of a court-ordered shutdown of the BlackBerry system.

    Congress last year took up patent reform, which has pitted the biotech industry against technology firms, with the Bush administration recently coming down on the side of biotechs and venture capitalists. Lawmakers have heard from all sides: On Monday, the administration called on senators to block a provision it doesn't like and industry lobbyists on both sides have repeatedly taken their case to the Hill.

    The reform bill passed the House in September but awaits action from the full Senate.

    Pharmaceutical, biotech and industrial companies generally oppose the bill they say would weaken patent protection. But supporters, including large technology companies and financial services firms, say it will reduce frivolous infringement lawsuits.

    Lobbyists are required to disclose activities that could influence members of the executive and legislative branches, under a federal law enacted in 1995.
    02-06-08 05:53 PM