The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued what it called a non-final rejection of a second patent owned by NTP Inc. involved in the company's litigation against BlackBerry e-mail device maker Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM)
The ruling won't help Research In Motion because a U.S. appeals court found the patent not to have been infringed. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit had upheld findings of infringement of two patents, including one that received a non-final rejection from the patent office last month.
Research In Motion is seeking to invalidate eight patents owned by NTP as part of its bid to avoid a jury's finding of infringement. Based on that finding, a U.S. judge in Richmond, Virginia, could order a shutdown of the existing BlackBerry service.
NTP can respond to the patent office's report. If the patent office decides the patent should be canceled, then NTP can appeal to a board within the patent office, and then to the Federal Circuit. If a company loses a patent, it can no longer license it to other companies that make products. NTP's primary business is licensing patents that it owns. It makes no products.
The BlackBerry case is NTP Inc. v. Research In Motion Ltd., 01cv767, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia (Richmond).
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