In their long-running patent-infringement lawsuit, courts have ruled steadily in favor of NTP and against Research in Motion (RIM).
The U.S. Patent Office, on the other hand, has generally decided in RIM’s favor. And this has happened yet again.
Although the Patent Office has not yet declared invalid the five patents held by NTP that are at the heart of this lawsuit, it has let both companies know that it is likely to do so.
“The patent owner’s arguments are deemed nonpersuasive,” the Patent Office wrote. “The next office action is expected to be a final rejection of all current claims.”
Exactly how this will effect this case is not yet known. Not surprisingly, the two sides have very different opinions.
RIM believes that the case is essentially over. It can’t be infringing on patents if the patents in question have been invalidated.
NTP points out that it still has the right to appeal the Patent Office’s decision, which it will surely do.
A ruling from the judge in this case, James R. Spencer, of United States District Court in Richmond, Va., is expected in the coming weeks.
At that time, Judge Spencer will announce whether he will block RIM from offering the BlackBerry email service to all non-governmental users in the United States.