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8/4/2005
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BlackBerry Maker Could Be Headed For U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Court of Appeals this week upheld seven claims of patent infringement against Research In Motion, and the company could still face an injunction that prevents it from selling BlackBerrys in the United States.

Could Research In Motion Ltd. be headed for the U.S. Supreme Court? The U.S. Court of Appeals this week upheld seven claims of patent infringement made by NTP Inc., down from the original 16 claims. The court ordered the case back to District Court where a number of things could happen, including an injunction that stops RIM from selling BlackBerrys in the U.S. or a settlement between the two companies.

RIM says it's considering asking the Appeals Court for another review with the full bench of judges (a three-judge panel gave the ruling), and may even take the case to the Supreme Court.

Views are mixed as to the outcome for RIM. If the case ends up back in District Court, NTP could be ordered to accept a settlement or the court could issue a new ruling in favor of RIM. "NTP is dragging its feet by not settling with RIM, and it might end up working in RIM's favor," says Carl Zetie, an analyst at Forrester Research. Meanwhile, the U.S. Patent And Trademark Office is reviewing NTP's remaining claims; RIM says it's rejected two of them.

But RIM isn't out of danger. Louis Ederer, an intellectual-property attorney with Torys LLP, an international business law firm, says, "It appears likely that the District Court will enter a judgment in NTP's favor and will prevent the use of BlackBerrys in the U.S., unless this goes to the Supreme Court."

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