RIM seems like it has exhausted all avenues to get its case tossed. In 2004, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit rejected RIM’s argument that it was not infringing on NTP’s patents because a critical piece of the BlackBerry service was located in Canada and not in the United States. They then appealed to the Supreme Court to hear its case but that request was denied. So down it goes, back to the district court level where in 2003 U.S. District Judge James Spencer has already granted an injunction to halt Blackberry sales in the US. He has ordered both sides to file response briefs by Feb. 1, and a hearing is expected within the next few weeks to determine the scope of a possible injunction.
Things are not looking good for RIM legally, from the bunch of news clippings we read yesterday, most experts are predicting that Judge Spencer is likely to grant an injunction to ban sales of Blackberry devices unless they get a big break. That big break is if Judge Spencer decides to factor in the latest developments regarding the US Patent Office rejecting NTP’s patents but that will prolong the case by years. The judge has already come on record saying that he wants to get this case over as fast as possible.
RIM still has that ‘workaround’ which they say will bypass NTP’s patents and they can deploy pretty quickly. However, the workaround will most likely start another big legal battle with NTP, but with a new case they can factor in the new rulings by the USPTO which has found NTP’s patents invalid. The second option, which is what a lot of people want is to settle with NTP. Last year, both initially agreed to a $450 million settlement but couldn’t agree on small details so it both parties backed out of the deal. If RIM does settle this time, expect them to pay a lot more than $450 million.