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Judge invalidates settlement between Blackberry-producer Research in Motion and NTP

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Waterloo, Ont.—A judge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia issued a ruling Nov. 30 that invalidates a settlement reached in March between Research in Motion and NTP Inc. over patent litigation.

Arlington, Va.-based NTP, which holds patents for wireless technology, filed a lawsuit against RIM in 2001, claiming patent infringement over technology used in RIM’s popular Blackberry e-mail device.

In the ruling, the district judge also denied Waterloo, Ont.-based RIM's motion to stay further proceedings in the case until the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office reaches a final determination in its re-examination of the NTP patents.

NTP is expected to ask for an injunction that would prohibit RIM from providing Blackberry service, and from using, selling, manufacturing or importing its handhelds and software in the U.S.

In a statement issued Nov. 30, RIM said it is now developing workaround software it plans to use if necessary that would maintain the operation of Blackberry services in the U.S. RIM said it would provide more details "if such an implementation becomes necessary."

—Kate Maddox

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