Did RIM blow a half a billion it didn't need to?

BlackBerry 7200 series

Did Research In Motion, the company behind the BlackBerry, just screw up big time? A few weeks ago they finally let NTP shake them down for $450 million in order to put and end to a years-long patent infringement suit, but did RIM settle a few weeks too soon? Because the punchline to all this is that US Patent & Trademark Office recently invalidated one of the five patents that was the basis of NTP's suit, and seems one of the verge of rejecting the other four as well. That'd mean that RIM coughed up nearly half a billion dollars that it didn't need to, not to mention several years of legal bills (though if it makes RIM feel any better, NTP will almost certainly fight the invalidation, thus dragging out this process for years more). Kinda wondering why the USPTO didn't get around to this earlier, like when it would have made a difference, but how about simply not granting these patents in the first place and saving everyone a lot of trouble? Do we even need to go on and on about how messed up the patent system is these days?

[Via GigaOm]