RIM Settles in BlackBerry Patent Case

Research in Motion (RIM) will pay NTP $612.5 million to settle all claims in its long-running patent infringement dispute with Virginia patent holding firm NTP.

The settlement, announced Friday, eliminates any threat of a court-ordered cutoff of RIM’s widely popular Blackberry wireless e-mail service in the United States.

According to RIM, the deal covers all patents owned and controlled by NTP in addition to all RIM products, services and technology. The settlement permits RIM  and its partners to sell RIM products and services free and clear of any claim by NTP.

Following the settlement, a court order dismissed the case.

RIM said it had previously accrued $450 million toward the settlement and the additional $162.5 million will be accounted for in the fourth quarter. The Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM will provide additional accounting details on its revenue outlook on April 6.

The settlement ends a bitter court battle that began when RIM rolled out its Blackberry wireless e-mail product in 2000. Two years later, a Virginia court decided RIM had infringed on NTP’s wireless patents and ordered a $53 million penalty. The litigation grew from there.

The court also called for an injunction to stop Blackberry service but delayed the decision until RIM exhausted all of its appeals.

RIM engaged in settlement talks with NTP earlier this year and thought it had a deal for $450 million. The presiding judge disagreed and last week, NTP and RIM were back in court. The court heard both sides but did not issue a decision, giving the two more time to reach a settlement.

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