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Final appeal in RIM's US Blackberry battle

Faces $100m bill if unsuccessful

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Research in Motion will make its last stand today (Monday) in the battle for the Blackberry, specifically for the right to sell the Blackberry in the US.

It is appealing an injunction issued against it preventing it from selling or servicing the device in the US. The injunction was granted in August last year when the court found RIM had infringed upon several patents held by IP holding company, NTP, but was stayed pending an appeal.

It will present its arguments at the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, the New York Times reports. In a written submission filed with the court RIM says the ruling is "fraught with error".

As well as the injunction, the District Court for the Eastern District, in Richmond, ordered the company to pay NTP, $53.7m in damages. With legal fees and interest added to this figure, the bill RIM faces is closer to $100m, lawyers for NTP said.

NTP originally sued RIM for infringement, but now RIM contends that the patents are invalid. The patent office is reexamining all five patents, although it is not hearing evidence from RIM in four of the five cases.

The patents concerned are numbers 5,625,670; 5,631,946; 5,819,172; 6,067,451 and 6,317,592. They cover a variety of systems for radio email transfer.

Although lawyers for NTP are bullish, describing the RIM's challenge as "bet your company litigation", the injunction award is unlikely to be their ideal outcome. After all, RIM won't have to pay royalties on products is it not allowed to sell.

Last year, the district court ordered the two sides to negotiate a royalties settlement, but so far there has been no agreement. ®

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