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Old 01-26-2006, 05:45 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Default US judge sets Feb 24 RIM injunction hearing

I thoght that this would have already been posted! its been out at least a day.

From :Reuters

US judge sets Feb 24 RIM injunction hearing By Peter Kaplan
Wed Jan 25, 6:11 PM ET



WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A hearing on a possible injunction shutting down most U.S. sales and service of the BlackBerry e-mail device has been scheduled for February 24, according to a court notice posted on Wednesday.

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U.S. District Judge James Spencer listed the hearing date on the docket for the closely watched case in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

The hearing in Richmond, Va. could be the final legal step before Spencer decides whether to impose an injunction on the maker of the BlackBerry, Research In Motion Ltd. (Toronto:RIM.TO - news) (Nasdaq:RIMM - news), which lost a patent infringement suit to U.S. patent holding company NTP Inc.

RIM issued a statement saying it would put up a strong argument against any injunction and disputing whether its existing customers should be subject to any injunction.

"There are compelling public interests against entry of an injunction and NTP can be fully compensated through ongoing royalty payments in lieu of an injunction," RIM's vice president of corporate marketing Mark Guibert said in a statement.

Guibert reiterated in the statement that RIM has "workaround" software that it could install that would allow its devices to avoid infringing NTP's patents.

At issue at the February 24 hearing will be whether a possible injunction and damages against RIM should be affected by an August 2005 appeals court ruling that struck down part of a jury's original findings but left standing several patent infringement rulings against RIM.

RIM shares were down 13 cents to $64.96 at the close of trading on NASDAQ.

Both sides are due to file final written response briefs with the judge on February 1.

In briefs filed before Spencer on January 17, RIM's lawyers argued that Spencer should refrain from imposing any injunction for a number of reasons, including an "exceptional public interest" in maintaining uninterrupted BlackBerry service for national security officials, among others.

NTP has asked Spencer to move ahead with the injunction. It has proposed exempting BlackBerry products used by U.S. federal, state, or local governments and giving other customers a 30-day grace period before any service shutdown.

In its statement on Wednesday, RIM said it would make the case for a longer grace period if any injunction were imposed.

NTP filed a patent infringement lawsuit against RIM in 2001, and a jury in Richmond, Va. found in NTP's favor in 2002. In 2003, Spencer granted an injunction that would have halted U.S. sales of the BlackBerry and shut down its service, but stayed the injunction pending appeal.

The two sides have met to discuss a possible settlement of the case, but without success. They reached a tentative $450 million settlement on the dispute in March, but the deal fell apart in June.

In a separate proceeding, RIM is challenging the validity of the NTP patents at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
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