In the latest round of Research in Motion vs. NTP, RIM got dealt a nasty blow when the U.S. Supreme Court turned down a request to hear an appeal by the BlackBerry maker, bringing it one step closer to a possible service shutdown. RIM was challenging a Federal Court of Appeals ruling that found the company had infringed on patents held by NTP, but now with the Supreme Court's refusal to review the decision, a trial judge in Richmond, Virginia, which originally ruled in favor of NTP in 2002, can impose an injunction against RIM and halt BlackBerry sales and service in the States. NTP is proceeding full steam ahead and just last week proposed that BlackBerry customers get a 30-day "grace period" before cutoff, while federal, state, and local government users would be exempt from the cutoff. If it comes down to this, RIM has said it has a "workaround" to continue service, but we have yet to hear any details. We asked our RIM contacts if they could offer any more news about the situation or provide info about the software workaround but got only a company press release in return, as well as an official statement from RIM's vice president of corporate marketing, stating, "RIM has consistently acknowledged that Supreme Court review is granted in only a small percentage of cases, and we were not banking on Supreme Court review. The Patent Office continues its reexaminations with special dispatch, RIM's legal arguments for the District Court remain strong, and our software workaround designs remain a solid contingency."
The battle continues as RIM keeps fighting the injunction and challenging the legitimacy of NTP's patents in a separate case with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. We know there are a lot of you CrackBerry addicts out there, and we want to know: Are you worried about a possible BlackBerry shutdown? Are you looking at alternatives or waiting to see what happens? TalkBack to me below.