Judge delays BlackBerry US shutdown

Judge delays BlackBerry US shutdown

Court disappointed with RIM and NTP’s inability to reach a settlement.

A US judge has delayed ruling on the shutdown of RIM’s BlackBerry network yesterday, extending an already long running patent dispute with NTP.

Judge James Spencer of the US District Court in Richmond is reported to have said that he was disappointed with RIM and NTP’s inability to reach a settlement but had decided to first rule on damages in the case, before deciding on a shutdown.

Earlier in the day, the US Patent and Trademark Office had issued a final rejection of the third NTP patent that forms the basis of the company's complaint against RIM, but Spencer said this would not affect his ruling.

Just after the hearing had closed yesterday, NTP issued a statement saying the company believed “that the court was receptive to the merits of our arguments”.

"We want all BlackBerry users to know that we have repeatedly attempted to settle this issue with RIM, including trying to meet with them this week. Contrary to RIM's public stance, we always have and continue to offer RIM a licence that fully protects everyone - its customers, carriers, and partners."

"RIM has rejected our efforts, stalled the proceedings and attempted to undermine the process every step of the way. We have acted to protect our interests and will do so in the future as should all patent owners,” the company said.