4th Patent in BlackBerry Dispute Rejected

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A fourth patent at the center of the dispute between Research in Motion Ltd., the maker of the Blackberry e-mail device, and NTP Inc. was rejected Friday in a non-final action by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The patent is one of the five at the center of the long-running dispute between NTP and RIM.

The PTO has already rejected all five NTP patents in so-called first office actions. It has now rejected four in a second round and RIM is pinning its hopes on the PTO validating its rulings in final patent rulings. However, patent-holding company NTP won a 30-day extension in the PTO’s re-examination of the patents, giving it more time to file a defense before any final rulings are issued.

Meanwhile, U.S. District Court Judge James Spencer is set to consider imposing a U.S. ban on BlackBerry sales and e-mail service at a hearing sometime after Feb. 1.