Black (And Blue) Berry: Supreme Court Rejects RIM Appeal
January 24, 2006 at 9:42 AM (PT)
BLACKBERRY maker RESEARCH IN MOTION's (RIM) appeal of a copyright infringement judgement has been dealt a setback, as the SUPREME COURT has refused to hear the company's appeal. The decision could potentially lead to a shutdown of BLACKBERRY service, according to CNET.
Patent-holding company NTP and RIM have been battling for years over the rights to the technology used to power the popular BLACKBERRY devices. NTP won a patent infringement lawsuit against RIM in 2001, and in 2003, a U.S. District Judge granted an injunction against RIM to halt U.S. sales of the BLACKBERRY device and its service, but stayed the injunction, pending RIM's appeals.
In 2004, CNET reported that the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit rejected RIM's contention that it wasn't infringing on NTP's patents because a critical piece of the BlackBerry service was located in Canada. leading to RIM's petition to the SUPREME COURT. Following this new setback, the company will turn its efforts to the U.S. district court in VIRGINIA, which, according to CNET, seems ready to move forward with the injunction.
NTP has proposed that the injunction include a 30-day "grace period" for BLACKBERRY customers, and an exemption for government users, as well as emergency first-responders, who would still receive service. RIM responded that it would be "difficult, if not impossible" to cut service to some customers while maintaining it for the government. The company says that it has a software "workaround" to skirt the patents in question, but it also has argued that an injunction would still be disruptive to customers because implementing the workaround requires reloading software on servers and handhelds.
Many WALL STREET analysts doubt that a BLACKBERRY outage will occur, as there is hope that NTP and RIM can reach an agreement. CNET reports that negociations continue between the two sides. RIM offered to pay NTP $450 million last year, but NTP rejected the offer.