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RIM touts 'NTP-beating' Blackberry update

Company 'comfortable' with workaround

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Research in Motion (RIM) is close to shipping a software update which, it believes, will free it from the threat of an injunction banning the sale of its Blackberry email devices in the US.

"It's a software upgrade that we're very, very comfortable with and... we're just finishing testing," RIM Joint-CEO Jim Balsillie told investors at a conference in New York yesterday.

The upgrade programme was announced in June as a way of ridding RIM's software of code that infringes the patents held by NTP and over the use of which it was successfully sued in 2003.

Since then RIM has lost an appeal against that judgement, come to terms with NTP, fallen out with NTP, seen most of NTP's relevant patents ruled void by the US Patent Office, had its request to appeal to a higher court rejected by the Supreme Court, and found itself on the verge of going back to the US District Court for Eastern Virginia to face the prospect of a fresh injunction against its infringing products.

Last week, US District Court Judge James Spencer said: "I intend to move swiftly... I've spent enough of my life and time on NTP and RIM."

RIM probably feels the same way. The update, if it can be clearly shown to side-step NTP's patented techniques, should help, not only by avoiding a possible injunction but perhaps even goading NTP into settling the case out of court once and for all. ®

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