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Blackberry Service in US To Stop? Don’t Hold Your Breath

Posted on Monday 10 October 2005

Media types ranging from the New York Times to the Wall Street Journal to Slashdot are singing the ‘Blackberry is dead’ tune, but that’s premature.

Here’s the basic bits: the US Court of Appeals has refused to rehear RIM’s appeal of a District Court’s finding that it had infringed on some of NTP’s patents. An injunction against US sales of Blackberry was one of the penalties imposed by the District court but the injunction was stayed pending appeal. In the interim, the USPTO has preliminarily rules that some of NTP’s patents are invalid, and the parties tried but failed to reach a settlement. RIM continues to escrow funds to pay possible royalties to NTP, as ordered by the court.

Despite losing the basic court fight and the appeal, RIM’s US business has continued to grow robustly and includes some significant customers in the US government in the executive, legislative and likely the judicial branches. For that reason alone the court is unlikely to stop Blackberry service; when one considers that the patents at issue may ultimately be declared invalid, there is no reason a court would wreck a company at this stage.

In the meantime, perhaps cooler heads will prevail and the parties will get back to the settlement table. NFL, IMHO.

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