RIM and NTP settle!

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Research In Motion Ltd. said on Friday it has signed a definitive settlement ending a patent dispute that threatened to shut down its BlackBerry e-mail service in the United States.

“All terms of the agreement have been finalized and the litigation against RIM has been dismissed by a court order this afternoon,” the Canadian company said in a statement.

RIM said it paid U.S. patent holding firm NTP Inc. $612.5 million to settle the dispute.

RIM had been locked in a court battle for more than four years with NTP, which filed suit late in 2001. A jury found in favor of NTP in 2002. Both companies reached a tentative settlement of $450 million early last year, but the deal fell apart.

The companies said the licensing and settlement agreement relates to all patents owned and controlled by NTP, and covers all of RIM’s products, services and technologies.