Today, one of the most closely watched lawsuits in the technology industry is going to enter another phase.
Exactly what phase that is is anyone’s guess.
A Federal court judge will preside over a hearing in which Research in Motion (RIM) and patent-holding company NTP will argue over whether RIM should be barred from offering its BlackBerry wireless email service in the United States.
NTP will argue that it should be, as previous court cases have ruled that the service violates several of NTP’s patents.
RIM will argue that its email service shouldn’t be blocked, as the U.S. Patent Office is well along in the process of invalidating all the patents in question.
The final decision will be up U.S. District Judge James Spencer.
He could announce his decision as early as today or take more time to consider it.
What Happen Next?
If Judge Spencer does rule against RIM, it almost certainly won’t mean an end to the BlackBerry service in the U.S.
It’s possible RIM could still agree to license the patents, which is what NTP has wanted all along.
But RIM thinks it has another option. It has developed and tested a software workaround for all BlackBerry handsets in the U.S. RIM believes this new system doesn’t violate any of NTP’s patents.
The company apparently regards this as a worst-case scenario, as all BlackBerry handhelds and servers already in use will need to install a software update to use the new system.