The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has rejected a second NTP Inc. patent in what it described as a non-final action. The patent, 5,625,670, is one of five at the center of the long-running patent dispute between NTP and Research In Motion Ltd., maker of the BlackBerry wireless handheld device. It’s the second time in a matter of weeks that the PTO has issued a “non-final” rejection of an NTP patent.
The PTO indicated it expects its next ruling, or office action, to be a final rejection of all claims in the 670 patent. The PTO used similar language in its recent rejection of the 6,067,451 patent. Both patents have now been rejected twice by the PTO. The three remaining patents have had all been rejected in first-office actions by the PTO.
While the five patents contain hundreds of claims, and the PTO considers all of them in its reexamination, the RIM/NTP court case involves only 16 claims, some in each of the five disputed patents. An appeals court upheld seven infringement claims against Research In Motion. Six were thrown out and three have been remanded to Virginia District Court for reconsideration.
According to one source, the 670 patent involves only one claim at issue in the case, and it’s one of the remanded claims. By contrast, the 451 patent includes two of the seven infringement claims upheld by the appeals court. It’s also the parent of the 6,317,592 patent, which encompasses the other five infringement claims upheld by the appeals court.