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January 23, 2006

RIM Moves Closer to the Brink

The brink of what, no one is quite sure of.  RIM and NTP have been litigating whether RIM's Blackberry service infringes on a number of NTP's patents.  The case has been litigated in the District Court, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the Supreme Court, the Patent Office, and now the Supreme Court again, which just turned down another appeal from RIM.  This one involved the question of the reach of U.S. patent laws given that RIM is based in Canada.

The District Court judge will not wait for the Patent Office to finish its review of NTP's patents even though that office has preliminarily rejected claims by NTP for two of its patents.  The administrative review continues parallel to the District Court's action.  RIM claims it has a workaround ready to put in place that would avoid a disruption of service but has been pretty mum about what that would entail. 

Briefs are due in the District Court by February 1st followed by a hearing to determine what's next.  NTP proposed that government customers be exempt from an injunction.  If that happens, Dick Cheney's Blackberry as parodied on an episode of the Fox comedy American Dad appears to be safe.  RIM has said, however, that any service cutoff forced by an injunction could not easily distinguish between corporate and government customers. 

Read about it here, here, and here.

January 23, 2006 | Permalink


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