Date set for RIM's patent appeal

The company is appealing a district court judge's ruling that its technology infringes on NTP patents.

A court date has been set for BlackBerry maker Research In Motion's appeal in an ongoing suit with holding company NTP.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit will hear RIM's case on June 7. The company is appealing a district court judge's ruling that its technology infringes on NTP patents, which may cost RIM up to $100 million in damages and fees by the time a decision has been made. If Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM loses the appeal, it will likely be the final round in the legal battle.

The company has been putting aside up to 8.6 percent of its revenue to pay off damages to NTP associated with the lawsuit.

The district court judge also granted an injunction preventing RIM from making, using or selling handhelds, services or software in the United States. The injunction will remain in effect until the date of expiration of NTP's patents, the latest of which is May 20, 2012. The court then stayed that injunction, pending an appeal by the Canadian company.

RIM has been seeking a re-examination of NTP's patents by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and is awaiting a decision.

RIM's BlackBerry service, software and devices allow people to wirelessly send and receive information, such as e-mail and certain company data, on handheld devices. NTP claimed that RIM infringed on its patents covering the use of radio frequency wireless communications in e-mail systems.

RIM has managed to put some of its legal headaches behind it, however. The company settled its cases with rival Good Technology in late March. Good signed a settlement and license agreement with RIM and will give it a lump-sum payment and ongoing quarterly royalties. Further financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.

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