The U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling today in the patent litigation between Research In Motion Limited (“RIM”) and NTP, Inc. (“NTP”). The Supreme Court denied RIM’s motion to stay further proceedings in the case until the U.S. Supreme Court decides whether it will accept an appeal of the decision in this case. The Supreme Court was not asked to, and did not decide, whether it ultimately will accept an appeal of the decision in this case. Rather, the Supreme Court merely decided that it would follow its normal course of allowing the District Court to decide whether and to what extent to continue the litigation in light of all relevant circumstances, including the prospect that the Supreme Court may decide to hear the case. The process by which the Supreme Court will decide whether to hear the case is expected to occur over the next few months. While further review by the Supreme Court is generally uncommon, RIM continues to believe this case raises significant national and international issues warranting further appellate review.
The Federal Circuit decision of August 2, 2005 vacated the injunction and damages award originally entered as a result of the District Court trial in 2002 and remanded the case to the District Court for further proceedings. The Federal Circuit decision also reversed or vacated the infringement finding on 9 of the 16 litigated patent claims.
During the upcoming proceedings, the District Court will be asked to decide a variety of matters relating to the litigation including the enforcement of the settlement agreement announced by the parties on March 16, 2005, the impact of the Patent Office re-examinations of the NTP patents on the litigation and the impact of the further proceedings ordered by the Federal Circuit in its August 2, 2005 ruling. RIM also expects NTP to ask the District Court to enter a new injunction prohibiting RIM from providing BlackBerry service and from using, selling, manufacturing or importing its handhelds and software in the United States. RIM expects the District Court will schedule briefings or hearings prior to deciding each of these matters. While RIM maintains that an injunction is inappropriate given the facts of the case and substantial doubts raised subsequent to trial as to the validity of the patents in question, it ultimately will be up to the courts to decide these matters and there can never be an assurance of a favorable outcome in any litigation.
The next step in the litigation is expected to be a scheduling conference between the parties and the District Court within the next few weeks to begin discussing the subject and timing of further briefings, hearings and other proceedings relating to all matters under consideration, including any potential motion for an injunction that NTP may decide to file.
All of the NTP patent claims have now been rejected by the Patent Office in its initial rulings in re-examination proceedings, based in part on prior art not considered in the District Court trial in 2002.