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Court lets RIM keep its day job for now

The legal battles never seem to cease for Research In Motion (RIM), which manufactures BlackBerry handhelds. But, there may be a glimmer of hope for the PDA maker after a US court this month granted the company's request to stay an injunction, which originally ruled against RIM after a two-year patent duel with NTP.

The injunction would prohibit RIM from selling BlackBerry wireless devices, as well as software and services to the US.

NTP's original lawsuit alleged that RIM infringed on NTP patents covering the use of radio frequency wireless communications in e-mail systems.

In November 2002, a US court found RIM guilty of infringing on five NTP patent - a verdict the company is appealing.

If RIM loses the appeal, the company would be prevented from selling eight BlackBerry models in the US until NTP's patents expire, which could be as late as May 2012.

The ruling is seen as a win for RIM, according to Henry Bunsow, RIM's lead counsel and partner at Howrey Simon Arnold & While. RIM has disputed the validity and infringement of the NTP patents, Bunsow said in a statement, adding that the company continues to believe the November jury verdict was wrong as both a matter of law and fact.

The appeals process could take up to two more years to complete, during which time, RIM will be able to continue its US BlackBerry distribution.

Carly Suppa writes for IDG News Service


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