Stouts brief and NTPs infringement case revolve around the sale and use of BlackBerry devices in the United States, he said, and one e-mail relay in Canada should not put RIM out of the laws reach. "The court has been careful to say [in previous rulings] that this was not a basis to get out from underneath the law," Stout said. "Beneficial use in the U.S. was the basis for this infringement, and except for a single node, everything that occurs using a BlackBerry is in the U.S. This decision will not hurt Canadian business." NTPs brief also took a shot at the Canadian governments late entry into the case: "Because the Canadian government did not participate in any previous proceedings, its principal source of information about this case appears to be the combined petition for panel rehearing by RIM. As a result, Canadas brief reflects the same disregard of the factual record and mischaracterizations of the panels decision as in RIMs rehearing petition."In addition to the Canadian filing, EarthLink Inc., the Information Technology Association of Canada and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce all filed separate briefs in support of RIM. NTP then filed four other briefs asking the court to deny these requests as well. RIM said it was unable to comment on the case as it is still in progress, and both the companys and the Canadian governments lawyers were unavailable before filing this story. An initial ruling in the case in August 2003 ordered RIM to pay NTP $53.7 million in damages and to cease selling its BlackBerry devices in the United States. RIM immediately appealed and continued selling the devices. The two sides, which have basically reargued their case via these filings, must now wait for the ruling, which is expected next month. RIM has said publicly it will take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. NTPs Stout said he believes it "extremely unlikely" that the Supreme Court would take the case, but Harvards Lerner said the court has heard several patent cases in the past and could decide to take this one as well. Check out eWEEK.coms for more on IM and other collaboration technologies.
Nextel is shipping a Bluetooth BlackBerry. Click here to read more.