RealTime IT News

Judge Denies Government RIM Hearing

A federal judge Tuesday afternoon denied a Department of Justice (DoJ) motion for additional hearings on government exemptions for any possible shutdown of Research in Motion's (RIM) BlackBerry wireless e-mail service.

U.S. District Judge James Spencer, who is set to begin a hearing Friday on the long-running patent dispute between RIM and NTP, refused the government's request to carve out separate hearings to protect government BlackBerry service.

Since rumors of an injunction against U.S. Blackberry service began to surface, NTP, a Virginia patent-holding firm, has insisted it doesn't want the injunction to affect Blackberry service used by the government.

NTP won a 2002 federal district court case upholding its patent-infringement claims against RIM. The court awarded NTP $53 million and issued an injunction against the Canadian-based RIM from selling or marketing its products in the United States.

Spencer delayed the injunction until RIM exhausted its appeals or reached a settlement with NTP.

After the June RIM-NTP talks collapsed, Spencer set a Feb. 24 hearing to determine damages and to consider the imposition of an injunction.

Subsequently, the U.S. Patent and Trademark has ruled the majority of the patents in dispute do not infringe on NTP's patents, a fact that Spencer is not bound to include in the hearings.