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RIM could face US Blackberry bar

Research In Motion is facing the possibility of an injunction that would bar it from selling its Blackberry mobile devices in the US, after losing a legal battle to suspend a patent lawsuit brought against it.

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit denied RIM’s motion to stay further proceedings in the case until the Supreme Court decides whether it will hear an appeal by the company.

The long-running legal wrangle between RIM and patent holder NTP goes back to 2002, when NTP successfully sued RIM. After a challenge by RIM, the Court of Appeal last year upheld a ruling that the BlackBerry product had infringed patents held by NTP.

RIM and NTP had reached a $450m (£255m) settlement on the dispute in March, but the agreement later collapsed.

Now RIM’s failure to persuade the Appeal Court to suspend its ruling leaves it facing the prospect of an injunction from NTP, halting US sales of Blackberry products.

In a statement, the company said, “While RIM maintains that an injunction is inappropriate given the facts of the case and substantial doubts raised subsequent to trial as to the validity of the patents in question, it ultimately will be up to the Courts to decide these matters and there can never be an assurance of a favorable outcome in any litigation.”

RIM would also ask the Supreme Court itself to suspend the proceedings and review the case.


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