RIM No Longer Has Death Sentence Hanging Over its Head

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RIM scored a partial victory in its long-running patent-infringement case with NTP yesterday.

On the positive side for RIM, the court overturned an earlier injunction that would have completely blocked RIM from selling its BlackBerry line of wireless handhelds in the U.S. This ruling had been made back in 2003, but the same judge had also ruled that this not go into effect until after RIM had had a chance to appeal the decision.

But it wasn’t all good news for RIM. The three-judge panel upheld much of the findings of the lower court, which decided that the BlackBerry line did, in fact, infringe on a number of patents held by NTP that relate to wireless email processing.

The appeals court sent the case back to the district court to take another look at how much RIM should pay in damages.

A Bit of History

NTP first filed suit in this case in November 2001, charging that the BlackBerry line used technology that had first been developed by Tom Campana. A year later, a U.S. jury found in NTP’s favor and ordered RIM to pay damages.

RIM doesn’t have to actually pay any of these until the appeal process is over, but it has had to set aside 8.5 percent of its revenues to pay them when the appeals process is complete.

It was in August 2003 that the judge in this case issued the injunction blocking RIM from selling BlackBerries in the U.S., but put a hold on this injunction, pending appeal.

This appeal happened last June in Washington, the results of which were just announced yesterday.

The court date for the next phase in this case has not yet been scheduled.

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