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Patent office issues final rejection of NTP patent in BlackBerry dispute

[JURIST] The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) [official website] announced Wednesday that one of the five NTP patents that a court found was infringed upon by Research In Motion's (RIM) [corporate wesbsite], manufacturer of the BlackBerry [product website] wireless device, has been found invalid on final review [RIM press release]. NTP successfully sued RIM in November of 2002 on claims that the BlackBerry hand-held internet and email device infringed on five of its patents. NTP won a $23 million judgment and an injunction - ultimately stayed upon appeal - prohibiting RIM from selling BlackBerrys in the US. The USPTO's final rejection of NTP's patent is the first major victory for RIM in a legal battle that has waged on for nearly five years. NTP can appeal the ruling. The USPTO had previously issued non-final rulings against NTP on four of its five claimed patents.

RIM had claimed that because its main e-mail switching facility was located in Canada, the company was not subject to US patent laws. A federal appeals court held otherwise and the US Supreme Court denied certiorari [JURIST report]. On Friday a federal judge is scheduled to hear arguments [JURIST report] on whether NTP's request for shutdown of the Blackberry service should be granted. CNET has more.

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