NTP settlement hits impasse

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BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Ltd. has reopened its legal battle with NTP Inc. after hitting an impasse in finalizing a $450 million patent dispute settlement. The news sent RIM’s stock down almost 6 percent and triggered at least one analyst downgrade as investors fretted about the return of a big issue that could potentially halt U.S. sales of its wireless e-mail device. RIM, which helped popularize mobile e-mailing with its thumb-operated BlackBerry, said on Thursday it has asked a U.S. court to enforce the terms of the deal the two firms announced in March because NTP “refuses to honor all of its obligations.”

Lawyers for closely held NTP, a U.S.-based patent holding company, did not immediately return phone calls.

“RIM is not looking to modify any aspect of the binding term sheet, but rather to have the court enforce the term sheet that both parties committed to and signed,” RIM co-chief executive Jim Balsillie told analysts on a conference call.

“I’m a pragmatic businessman … I’m not looking to play any games, or do any quibbling or deviate from anything we agreed to do here.”

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