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US IP remit doesn't extend to Canada

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Research in Motion (RIM) wants the US Court of Appeal to reconsider its argument that its Canadian location puts it beyond the reach of US-based patent infringement accuser NTP.

Faced with a return to the District Court of Eastern Richmond, Virginia to have a new penalty imposed following the Court of Appeal's ruling that RIM did indeed violate NTP's intellectual property, the Canadian company is now saying none of all these legal shenanigans were necessary, the New York Times reports.

Lawsuits in Motion's pitch is that since its servers are located north of the border, where US patents have no hold, it can't be held to have infringed NTP's US patents.

Yes, Blackberries operate within the US, but all the real work is done in Canada - certainly the stuff that NTP alleged it had ownership of courtesy of its US patent - RIM argues. The Canadian government has filed a brief with the court to indicate its support for RIM's basic argument.

Not surprisingly, NTP is having none of it. It maintains that since the "beneficial" part of the Blackberry system - ie. the handheld - can be used in the US, it can be brought to book.

"We don't care if one part of the system is run in Canada," Donald Stout, NTP's co-founder and counsel, told the newspaper.

Indeed, if RIM's argument is so strong, why didn't it make more of its server location in the early days of the case rather than spend time trying to show that no infringement had taken place?

Last month, RIM was told by the appeals court that its battle with NTP would return to the lower court. The Court of Appeal also overturned a injunction banning sales of the Blackberry in the US, imposed on RIM by the lower court but later stayed.

NTP sued RIM in 2002. A year later, the District Court of Eastern Richmond, Virginia ruled in NTP's favour and in addition to the injunction ordered RIM to pay $54.7m in damages. ®

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