- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 16, 2005


Research In Motion Ltd., the Canadian maker of BlackBerry wireless e-mail devices, said yesterday it will pay $450 million to resolve litigation with NTP Inc., an Arlington, Va., company that said the devices infringed on its patents. RIM’s shares soared near 18 percent.

Under terms of the agreement, NTP will grant the company and its customers the right to continue its BlackBerry-related wireless business without further interference from NTP or its patents.

RIM’s U.S. shares jumped $11.87, or 17.7 percent, to close at $78.96 yesterday trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market. Its shares have traded in a range of $41.55 and $103.56 over the past 52 weeks.

The dispute began in 2002 when NTP said RIM infringed on 16 of its patents, including its radio communications technology.

In August 2003, a U.S. court in Virginia agreed that 11 of those 16 patents were violated and awarded NTP $54 million in damages, as well as an 8.6 percent royalty on all the revenue from U.S. BlackBerry sales. The court also ordered an injunction to prevent RIM from making or selling its devices in the United States.

The injunction was stayed, however, while RIM appealed. On Dec. 14, 2004, a three-judge U.S. appeals court panel struck down the verdict and injunction yet upheld most of the patent infringement claims, sending the case back to the lower court for reconsideration.

RIM says its BlackBerry relay server — through which all e-mail passes — is based in Waterloo, Ontario. So U.S. patent laws have no jurisdiction, even though most of its 2 million subscribers are below the 49th parallel.

Yesterday, RIM said the settlement fee relates primarily to past damages, and includes the $137 million judgment currently held in escrow. The company said it expects to expense most of the remaining $313 million in the fourth quarter ended Feb. 26.

NTP and RIM plan to finalize the terms of this agreement in upcoming weeks.

The company said further comment and details will not be disclosed until the company’s fourth-quarter conference call on April 5.

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