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Court Ruling Could Block US BlackBerry Sales

Court Ruling Could Block US BlackBerry Sales

by , 5:30 PM EST, December 14th, 2004

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that an appeals court has upheld a patent infringement ruling against Research in Motion that could block BlackBerry sales in the U.S. The lawsuit from NTP, Inc. alleged violation of some 16 patents in the BlackBerry, and the appellate ruling upheld 11 of those claims. From the Journal's article:

The original ruling, by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, included an injunction that could prevent RIM, based in Waterloo, Ontario, from selling its BlackBerry devices and services in the U.S., by far its largest market. The lower court stayed the injunction, but the appeals-court ruling means the lower court could issue the injunction unless RIM convinces the court otherwise or finds some other legal remedy.

But RIM's legal options are dwindling, outside observers said. The appeals-court ruling is "an enormous victory for NTP," and now there is "a gun hanging over RIM's head," said James Hurst, a patent lawyer and partner with Winston & Strawn in Chicago.

RIM still has the option to appeal the appellate ruling, and the WSJ notes that NTP's patents are under review by the U.S. Patent and Trade Office (USPTO), but that such reviews can take years to play out.

Mac users can sync a BlackBerry through software from PocketMac called PocketMac BlackBerry Edition. The software allows Mac users to sync their crucial data between their BlackBerry and Entourage, Address Book, iCal, Now Contact, Now Up-To-Date, and Stickies, and is integrated with Apple's iSync software.

Shares in RIM fell after the court ruling was issued, closing at 85.44, down 4.65 (-5.16%).

There is more information on the ruling in the full article at the Wall Street Journal (paid subscription required).

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