Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Research in Motion, manufacturer of the popular BlackBerry wireless device, suffered another blow Tuesday when an appeals court ruled that the Canadian company is infringing patents held by NTP Inc. But the case isn’t over yet. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit offered Research in Motion a chance to reverse the findings of infringement. The court said the district court had misconstrued one claim in the disputed patents. Since it was unclear whether the error prejudiced the jury and caused it to reach an infringement verdict, the appeals court said it was sending the case back to the district court to review that question. “On remand, if RIM can establish that the erroneous claim construction prejudiced the jury’s verdict as to the affected claims, the district court will have to set aside the verdict of infringement as to those claims,” Judge Richard Linn wrote for a three-judge panel of the Federal Circuit. In 2002, a federal court jury in Richmond, Va., found that RIM had committed willful infringement on all the claims in five patents held by NTP, a Virginia company created to protect the patents of inventor Thomas Campana Jr., who died earlier this year. The jury awarded NTP $23 million, a royalty rate of 5.7 percent of BlackBerry sales. The court subsequently increased the award to $53.7 million and issued a permanent injunction barring RIM from manufacturing or selling BlackBerry devices. The court stayed the injunction pending the outcome of the appeal. The case has drawn widespread attention from the patent bar, as well as from BlackBerry owners worried that the handheld devices — which allow users to e-mail, browse the Internet and talk on the phone — might be pulled off the market. Last year, the U.S. House of Representatives also jumped into the dispute. The House’s Chief Administrative Officer, James Eagan III, sent a letter to lawyers for RIM and NTP asking that an injunction not be issued against the devices, stating that such an action would create “a serious risk to the House’s critical communications and could jeopardize the public interest.” The appeals court’s decision focused on the definition of a BlackBerry component called an “originating processor.” The district court defined it broadly as “any one of the constituent processors in an electronic mail system that prepares data for transmission through the system.” However, the appeals court defined originating processor more narrowly as “the sole processor that initiates the transmission of electronic mail message text into the electronic mail system,” separate from the gateway or interface switches. NTP’s counsel, James Wallace Jr., a partner in Washington, D.C.’s Wiley Rein & Fielding, called the ruling “a tremendous victory for NTP.” Wallace said the Federal Circuit’s decision affects five of 16 claims that went before the jury. “We could throw out those five claims, and the injunction and damage awards are fully supported by the 11 remaining claims,” he said. But RIM attorney Henry Bunsow also found reason to cheer the ruling. “My initial reaction is favorable in that the injunction and damage awards have been vacated, and we will have further proceedings in Richmond, [Va.],” wrote Bunsow, a partner in the San Francisco office of Howrey Simon Arnold & White, in an e-mail message. “We need to study the decision in light of the lower court record to assess the full benefits of the reversal and remand.” While the Federal Circuit’s decision keeps the BlackBerry on the market for the time being, Wallace said it could be withdrawn at some point in the future. But mobile e-mail fans need not worry, he added. “There will be a wireless e-mail on the market,” said Wallace, “because we’ll do licensing with others.” At the request of a telecommunications industry trade group, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ordered a re-examination of the disputed patents in December 2002. That re-examination has not yet concluded.

This content has been archived. It is available exclusively through our partner LexisNexis®.

To view this content, please continue to Lexis Advance®.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber? Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® is now the exclusive third party online distributor of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® customers will be able to access and use ALM's content by subscribing to the LexisNexis® services via Lexis Advance®. This includes content from the National Law Journal®, The American Lawyer®, Law Technology News®, The New York Law Journal® and Corporate Counsel®, as well as ALM's other newspapers, directories, legal treatises, published and unpublished court opinions, and other sources of legal information.

ALM's content plays a significant role in your work and research, and now through this alliance LexisNexis® will bring you access to an even more comprehensive collection of legal content.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.