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RIM open to 'reasonable' settlement offer from NTP

Blackberry ban hearing draws nigh

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As Research in Motion (RIM) prepares itself for this Friday's US District Court hearing into NTP's request that its Blackberry service be shut down in the US, it has once again said it is open to a "reasonable" settlement offers.

Speaking at CIBC World Markets conference last Friday, RIM CFO Dennis Kavelman said: "You know if there's a reasonable settlement opportunity that we'd be there. I think we showed last year that we were willing to settle that."

In March 2005, RIM and NTP announced they had agreed to enter settlement talks on the basis that RIM would gain "unfettered" access to its rival's patents for $450m. By the following June, RIM was complaining to the appeals court that NTP had allegedly gone back on its word.

"NTP refuses to honour its obligations under the Term Sheet and finalise the definitive documents," RIM alleged at the time. "As a result, an impasse has been reached with respect to the settlement."

Later that month, the US Patent and Trademark Office made preliminary rulings that key claims in NTP's patents should be nullified. All other claims relating to the patent infringement fight with RIM have since been similarly overshadowed by PTO rulings, though the organisation has yet to formally strike them out.

On February 24, the two combatants will return to court to debate a possible injunction against Blackberry. Kavelman re-iterated RIM has a workaround solution in place - a software upgrade that doesn't contain patent-infringing technology - to ensure continuity of service should Judge James R Spencer side with NTP. ®

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