February 22, 2006 11:28 AM PST

Patent office issues final rejection of NTP patent

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The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued a final rejection of one of the five patents at issue in NTP's long-running case against BlackBerry maker Research In Motion.

The final rejection was posted on the Patent Office's Web site for the NTP-held patent, which covers a system for sending e-mails over a wireless network to a mobile device. The Patent Office has already issued nonfinal actions rejecting the claims in four out of the five NTP patents in question, but a final rejection is required before the appeals process can begin.

Contacted on Wednesday, NTP's lead counsel, James Wallace of Wiley, Rein & Fielding, said he had not reviewed the final action and therefore could not comment. NTP has the right to appeal any final rejection notice to a three-judge panel at the Patent Office, and can file further appeals at the federal-court level.

RIM issued a statement confirming it had received the final action and said it expects the rejections to withstand future NTP appeals.

NTP, a patent-holding company, successfully sued RIM for patent infringement and won an injunction, stayed pending appeal, to halt most sales of RIM's BlackBerry wireless e-mail device and service in the United States.

While the case has worked its way through the court system, the Patent Office began re-examining the validity of NTP's patents.

NTP has said it plans see the full reexamination process through, which could take years, because it has the ability to appeal the decisions through the courts.

RIM and NTP are scheduled to argue the remaining portions of their patent dispute Friday in a courtroom in Richmond, Va. The presiding judge in the case, U.S. District Court Judge James Spencer, will decide whether NTP is entitled to an injunction against the sale and support of BlackBerry wireless e-mail devices in the U.S., a prospect that has the fiercely loyal BlackBerry community worried.

RIM shares were up 46 cents in midday trading at $74.61.

CNET News.com reporter Anne Broache and Reuters contributed to this report.

See more CNET content tagged:
NTP, rejection, patent, Research In Motion Ltd., wireless e-mail

6 comments

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LOL
I hope NTP loses out on this. Imagine if they completely lose this case because all their patents have been proved invalid... and they were sitting their trying to hold out for MORE MONEY, like $450 million wasn't enough for them. It would rule to see them not make a dime off of RIM now :)
Posted by SeizeCTRL (1333 comments )
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The sad thing is it doesnt matter if they are not valid
They were valid until they are turned down; RIM might have to pay for the time the patents were valid, that means from time they were issued, until today...

The patent system is completely broken, and NTPs are around every honey pot to try to either extract some money, or bring more work to lawyers.
Posted by sancat (13 comments )
Link Flag
Patent office does something right
Patent office does something right finally by invalidating this bogus patent of NTP.

But Patent office needs to take steps to prevent such bogus patents being issued, which now a days are being issued at a torrid rate.
And the best way to stop them, is to require the patent claimant to actually have made the Patent into a Product!
As anyone who has made anything knows, the difficulty is not in the drawings, but in working out the last 1% of the bugs to put out a product that works, and is user friendly.

So to issue patents to just something written on a paper without an actual product to show for it, is just asking for lawyers to make tons of money at the expense of the public.
Posted by Dean_Ansari (61 comments )
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Who are you to say they're BOGUS?
have you gotten the patent descriptions and reviewed them? If so what is the basis for your accusation? It's so easy for everyone to say that when they don't even know anything (or much) about the case....give me some PROOF they're bogus, then you can make your charge. E. Diamond
Posted by eandros (2 comments )
Link Flag
No matter who wins...
the consumer looses. the cost of the products will have to reflect the lawyers fees, and you can bet they're going to be considerable.
Posted by wtortorici (102 comments )
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