RIM Case Sent back to Lower Court for Hearings


Research In Motion Ltd. says it may appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States to review a ruling handed down by an appeals court this week affirming that the company infringed on several patents of a Virginia firm. On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington upheld most of its December patent infringement ruling against RIM.

But the court revised its original ruling to say the company, based in Waterloo, Ont., had infringed on seven of 16 claims of patents of NTP Inc., rather than 11 as originally determined. In a statement yesterday, RIM questioned the long-term validity of the seven remaining claims. Two of them have recently been rejected by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the other five are under re-examination, RIM said.

The appellate panel of three judges sent the legal case back to district court for more hearings, at which RIM lawyers will try to get a judge to enforce a settlement agreement that the two sides announced in March. RIM had agreed to pay $450-million (U.S.) to end the long-running dispute with NTP, a privately held patent-licensing firm. The deal collapsed, however, less than two months later. If the court rules the deal invalid, the company is bracing investors for the worst.

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