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1/26/2006
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RIM Says BlackBerry Work-Around Is Ready If Needed

Following the U.S. Supreme Court's rejection of the case, it appears the BlackBerry patent battle will be resolved in the U.S. District Court system. In the case of an injunction, Research In Motion says it's found a way to let customers keep using their BlackBerrys.

While the U.S. Supreme Court has rejected Research In Motion Ltd.'s request to hear its case, the BlackBerry maker says it has a technology work-around ready to go in the event a U.S. District Court imposes an injunction.

RIM says it would pre-load a software work-around on new BlackBerry devices that avoids any alleged patent infringements before they're shipped to customers. "Work-arounds are a legitimate strategy respected by the courts, so RIM would be fully entitled to alter its software with a non-infringing work-around and continue shipping," said Mark Guibert, RIM's VP of corporate marketing, in a prepared statement.

RIM believes that existing customers should be entitled to continuing the BlackBerry service and that any injunction, if granted, should only apply to new devices being sold. "To be clear, RIM doesn’t believe an injunction is appropriate," Guibert said.

If an injunction is granted and applies to existing users, a grace period would allow time for customers to install the necessary software update so they can continue getting service. Although NTP Inc. has suggested a 30-day grace period, RIM says it would request a longer grace period.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court turned down RIM's request to review its patent infringement case with NTP. The court rejected a petition by RIM to review the reach of U.S. patent laws and if they apply to the Canada-based company.

In addition to the court proceedings, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is continuing its reexaminations. All of NTP's patents have already been rejected by the Patent Office and it's expected to issue a final ruling in the coming weeks, which could impact any decisions by the U.S. District Court.

RIM said it couldn't provide additional details on the software work-around at this time.

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