Blackberry loses case
Updated: 11:51 a.m. ET Jan. 23, 2006
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear an appeal from the maker of the BlackBerry in the long-running battle over patents for the wildly popular, handheld wireless e-mail device.
The high courtís refusal to hear Canada-based Research In Motion Ltd.ís appeal means that a trial judge in Richmond, Va., could impose an injunction against the company and block BlackBerry use among many of its owners in the United States.
The justices had been asked to decide on whether U.S. patent law is technologically out of date in the age of the Internet and the global marketplace.
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At issue was how U.S. law applies to technology that is used in a foreign country and allegedly infringes on the intellectual property rights of a patent-holder in the United States.
The justices were asked to decide whether Research In Motion can be held liable for patent infringement when its main relay station for e-mail and data transmission is located in Waterloo, Ontario, outside U.S. borders.
RIM was challenging a ruling by a federal appeals court that found that the company had infringed on the patents held by NTP Inc., a tiny northern Virginia patent-holding firm, because its customers use the BlackBerry inside U.S. borders. The panel said it did not matter where the relay station is located.
Attorney Kevin Anderson, who represents NTP, said the firm is pleased with the courtís action. ďWe think the Supreme Courtís rejection of RIMís position makes it clear that RIM should stop defying the U.S. legal system,Ē he said.
RIM sought to play down the significance of the courtís rejction. ďRIM has consistently acknowledged that Supreme Court review is granted in only a small percentage of cases and we were not banking on Supreme Court review,Ē said Mark Guibert, RIMís vice president for corporate marketing. ďRIMís legal arguments for the District Court remain strong and our software workaround designs remain a solid contingency.Ē
Wow - you mean that there's really a chance that I won't be able to get all my spam nationwide now???? :D