US Judge Serves Up a Huge Blow in the RIM BlackBerry Patent Settlement Case

Rebecca Atwood
Vice President from Charleston, SC
Published: November 29, 2005

Research in Motion (RIM) the maker of the BlackBerry mobile got potentially devastating news today when Judge James Spencer announced that he is refusing to delay the patent infringement case and also rejected the disputed settlement with patent holder NTP Inc.  NTP Inc., a McLean, VA based firm claims that the technology used for the popular BlackBerry, infringes on their patents. 

Spencer said that he would request briefs and set a hearing date to deal with the remaining issues of injunctive relief and appropriate damages against RIM.  "Valid patents would be rendered meaningless if an infringing party were allowed to circumvent the patents' enforcement by incessantly delaying and prolonging court proceedings, which have already resulted in a finding of infringement," Spencer said in his ruling.

NTP Inc. is pushing for new BlackBerry sales to be prohibited and for all current U.S. users to lose access to their mobile e-mail services.    In the U.S. there are currently around 3 million BlackBerry users, including numerous members of the United States government. 

To keep current BlackBerry users at ease, RIM has announced that if the court issues an injunction to shut down U.S. services, it will implement a software "workaround".  In a statement released, "RIM has also been preparing software workaround designs which it intends to implement if necessary to maintain the operation of BlackBerry services in the United States.  Further details will be made available if such implementation becomes necessary".