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jibi 01-03-2006 09:18 AM

[2006-01-03] RIM cites another patent office win
BlackBerry e-mail service provider Research In Motion said on Friday the U.S. patent office has ruled against two more NTP patents in their fight over the popular service.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued "non-final actions" rejecting claims for two NTP patents involved in the dispute with RIM, which has faced a shutdown of its service in the United States, RIM said.

"The Patent Office's latest rulings corroborate RIM's long-standing contention that the NTP patents are invalid and the rulings also demonstrate that the Patent Office is acting with special dispatch to address the court's concern and the public interest, Mark Guibert, RIM's vice president of corporate marketing, said in a statement.

Closely held NTP, a patent holding company, successfully sued RIM for patent infringement in 2002. It later won an injunction, stayed pending appeal, to halt sales of RIM's BlackBerry device and service in the United States.

With the court appeal process largely exhausted, RIM has moved closer to a possible shutdown in the United States. A U.S. judge in Virginia is considering NTP's request to lift the stay, which would halt RIM's service in the country.

Attempts to reach an NTP representative on Friday evening were not immediately successful.

While the case has worked its way through the court system, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has been reexamining the validity of NTP patents. So far the agency has rejected claims for seven of the eight patents in non-final actions, according to RIM.

RIM shares closed at $66.01 on Nasdaq, down almost 18.6 percent year-to-date.

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