BlackBerry Patent Case Swings Away from RIM to NTP

There will be furrowed brows over at Research in Motion Ltd (RIM), the Canadian company behind the ever-popular wireless email device, BlackBerry.

The US Court of Appeals has just ruled against them in a case brought by intellectual property holding company NTP Inc, that alleged RIM have violated patents owned by NTP that cover the transmission of email over a radio network.

The only slight cause for relief for RIM will come from the court ruling that they will be able to continue selling their products until final judgement is reached.

The history of the case goes back to 2000 when NTP first notified RIM of the alleged infringement. In a series of cases since then, the case has been batted between the two of them and over the period, the courts have ordered RIM to pay over $70m to NTP.

Back in November 2002, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ordered re-examinations of all NTP patents litigated in this matter.

Although this ruling only has jurisdiction in the USA, it is unclear if there will be any impact on RIM’s deals with non-US mobile operators. RIM has done deals with a number of operators around the world, the product of which have now made it to market. One example, being two months ago Vodafone UK launched the 7100v that has BlackBerry functionality built into a more compressed form.

Research In Motion