Last week the U. S. Federal Court of appeals denied a request from BlackBerry maker Research in Motion to rehear its appeal of the NTP Patent infringement case in front of the full 12 judge court. Many of the BlackBerry news articles that I have read since then have made it seem like it is the end of the road for RIM and that an injunction prohibiting the sale of BlackBerry devices and service in the United States is imminent. I have to admit that I completely disagree.
First, all the court did was deny a rehearing of the case in front of the full 12 judge court as compared to a 3 judge panel which initially heard the appeal and upheld the guilty ruling. It is very uncommon for the full court to reconsider a panel’s decision. It’s not unheard of, it’s just hardly ever done.
Second, the U. S. Patent office has rejected all 8 of NTP’s patent claims, 5 of which RIM was found guilty of infringement on. Now, I am no lawyer, nor do I play one on TV, however, it seems to me that if NTP sued RIM based on patents that the U. S. Patent office says are invalid, that that is really bad news for NTP.
Third, reports are saying that with the news of the rejection, NTP is now going to ask for an injunction against the sale of BlackBerry devices and service in the U. S. If memory serves me right, NTP as already filed for that injunction and it was stayed until all this litigation gets figured out. It just wouldn’t make sense for the court to enforce that injunction now when it looks like NTP will have to appeal the the U. S. Patent Office’s decision to deny its patents.
From what I can tell, RIM is sitting pretty right now and NTP is the company that is on the hot seat.