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Judge to review RIM settlement

A U.S. judge will review a disputed settlement in the patent infringement case against the BlackBerry maker.

RICHMOND, Va.--A federal judge said he would review a disputed settlement in the patent infringement case against the maker of the BlackBerry e-mail device. He also said it was "highly unlikely" he would delay the case pending a review by the U.S. Patent Office.

U.S. District Judge James Spencer said Wednesday in a hearing that he would decide whether to go ahead with an injunction against Research in Motion after deciding whether a contested $450 million settlement deal with patent-holding company NTP is enforceable.

"I intend to move swiftly in this," Spencer said. "I've spent enough of my life and time on NTP and RIM."

RIM shares were down $1.84, or 2.9 percent, to $62.02 a share on the Nasdaq market in morning trading.

Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM and NTP reached a settlement in March, but the deal fell apart in June during a dispute over how to interpret its terms. RIM wants the settlement enforced.

Spencer called for briefs from both sides on the settlement issue.

In 2003, Spencer granted an injunction that would have halted U.S. sales of the BlackBerry and shut down its service after NTP successfully sued RIM. But Spencer stayed the injunction pending appeal.

An appeals court later scaled back the infringement ruling against RIM, but upheld some patent infringement claims. Efforts by RIM to get the courts to stay the case have failed.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office completed a re-examination of eight NTP patents and issued initial rulings rejecting all of the claims.

RIM has noted thta the patent office ruling is not final. NTP has said it plans see the full re-examination process through, which could take years.

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