Patent ruling against RIM revised

Shares move higher amid hopes that the decision could delay a potential court injunction halting BlackBerry sales.

A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday revised a December ruling that upheld a patent infringement charge left hovering over the makers of the BlackBerry wireless e-mail device.

Shares of the Waterloo, Ontario-based Research In Motion moved higher on Tuesday following the news, amid hopes the decision could stretch out legal proceedings and delay a potential court injunction that would halt sales of the popular BlackBerry in the United States.

Judges with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C., withdrew the initial 59-page opinion and issued a new 74-page opinion. The case now goes back to a lower court for further review.

The federal appeals court overturned the lower court's finding that RIM infringed on NTP's "method" patents, but reaffirmed the infringement of patents of the e-mail "system." RIM has been allowed to continue selling BlackBerry devices in the United States while the courts review the infringement case.

"I don't think it makes too much difference," NTP co-founder Donald Stout said. "We lost the 'method' claims, but there are 10 claims that are infringed."

Executives with RIM declined to initially comment, but a representative with RIM told CNET News.com that the company's lawyers were reviewing the 74-page opinion.

Justice Paul Michel said the lower court also misinterpreted the term "originating processor" in the original claim.

In plain language, the judge pointed out that the phrase "originating processor" should refer to the actual semiconductor inside the device and not to every component that initiates data, such as the keyboard.

Cash settlement talks between RIM and NTP to the tune of $450 million looked promising at first but stalled in June.

Another complication in the case is that since the original ruling, the U.S. Patent Trademark Office has effectively struck down many of the patents held by NTP. NTP has said it plans to appeal the patent office rulings, a process that could take years.

RIM filed a 14-page request with the USPTO Tuesday asking that the director continue a reexamination of one of the patents.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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