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Blackberry ban decision 'soon', says judge

Court adjourned

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RIM breathed a sigh of relief after US District Judge James Spencer adjourned yesterday's Eastern Virginia hearing into a possible ban on its Blackberry service.

Judge Spencer re-iterated "the simple truth" - that a jury had already found RIM guilty of infringing NTP's patents.

"This case should have been settled but it hasn't, so I have to deal with that reality," said Spencer. "I'm surprised you have left this decision to the court."

In approaching such a decision, Judge Spencer expressed his scepticism for RIM's argument that shutting down the Blackberry service is an essential public service. NTP said it wants the court to give RIM 30 days' grace before imposing a ban. It also said it wants immediate damages of $126m.

With arguments for and against a ban expressed by NTP and RIM advocates respectively, Judge Spencer adjourned the case. He simply said he would rule on the matter "as soon as reasonably possible".

The implication is clear: the parties should get talking and reach an accord. NTP said it has indeed been talking to RIM all week, while its antagonist said negotiations were continuing.

The judge's adjournment also gives RIM a chance to get its workaround solution out the door and onto customers' servers and mobile devices. RIM needs to have the code in place so it can ensure customers who've applied the patch maintain continuity of service if a ban is imposed. ®

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