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Courts reject US government’s Blackberry appeal

The US courts have turned down a request from the Justice Department for additional hearings to protect US government users if legal action forces a shut-down of the Blackberry network.

Research in Motion, which makes the Blackberry wireless devices, is facing the threat of an injunction demanded by patent-holder NTP in a long-running patent dispute. If granted, an injunction could shut down the US Blackberry network.

The Justice Department had requested extra hearings into how a Blackberry shutdown would affect the work of US government officials who use the device.

But Eastern Virginia District Court Judge James Spencer refused the request. His ruling comes just two days before the hearing at which he will decide whether to grant NTP’s injunction request.

Earlier this month, RIM released a workaround designed to keep Blackberry devices running in the event of an injunction. But industry analyst Gartner warned that the move should be seen “primarily as a negotiating tactic”.


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