RIM, NTP Settle Patent Suit

The BlackBerry maker will pay NTP $450 million to settle a long-standing patent dispute.

Research In Motion Ltd. has agreed to shell out $450 million to Arlington, Va.-based patent holding company NTP Inc. to settle a patent dispute over its BlackBerry wireless technologies.

"NTP will grant RIM and its customers an unfettered right to continue its BlackBerry-related wireless business without further interference from NTP or its patents," RIM, of Waterloo, Ontario, said in a statement.

RIM has been embroiled in a legal battle with NTP since 2001, when NTP charged in a lawsuit that it owns the patents on wireless technology used in RIMs popular BlackBerry devices and server software. In August 2003, a U.S. court awarded NTP $53.7 million in damages and ordered an injunction that would prevent RIM from making, selling or servicing its devices and server software in the United States. That injunction, however, was stayed while RIM appealed the decision.

In December, a U.S. appeals court upheld 11 of NTPs patent infringement claims against RIM but sent the entire case back to a lower court to review five other claims.

RIM said Wednesdays settlement relates primarily to settlement of past damages, which includes the 2003 judgment and money escrowed to date totaling $137 million. RIM said it will expense "a substantial portion" of the remaining $313 million in the fourth quarter, which ended Feb. 26.

The settlement is expected to be finalized in the upcoming weeks. Pending that settlement, RIM will provide further details when it releases its fourth-quarter results on April 5.


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