U.S. Supreme Court denies RIM delay in NTP patent case

U.S. Supreme Court refuses request by Research in Motion to delay injunction while appeal is launched

Research In Motion has lost a request to the U.S. Supreme Court to stay a lower court decision in a long-running patent infringement case.

RIM (TSX:RIM), which is based in Waterloo, Ont., had wanted the lower court proceedings stayed until the U.S. Supreme Court decided whether it will hear an appeal by RIM.

On Wednesday, Chief Justice John Roberts denied RIM's motion without comment.

The case has been referred back to the U.S. district court that originally ruled that RIM had infringed on patents held by NTP. That district court will be asked to reconfirm its ruling and an injunction that, if allowed to proceed, would cripple access to RIM's most important market.

"The Supreme Court was not asked to, and did not decide, whether it ultimately will accept an appeal of the decision in this case," a statement from RIM said.

"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."

RIM expects scheduling conference in 'next few weeks'

RIM said it expects the next step in the litigation to be a scheduling conference between the parties and the District Court "within the next few weeks."

Trading in RIM shares was halted on the TSX and the Nasdaq. They'd slumped $5.46 to $62.01 at the time of the trading halt, but bounced back when trading resumed and closed at $68.30, up 83 cents on the TSX.

Patent dispute goes back 3 years

In 2002, privately-held NTP filed suit against RIM, accusing it of infringing on patents it held. In 2003, a jury awarded NTP damages of $53.7 million US.

RIM was also ordered to pay NTP an 8.55 per cent royalty and was hit with an injunction that would prevent it from selling its BlackBerry devices or software in the United States. The injunction was stayed pending an appeal.

In December 2004, a three-member U.S. federal appeals court affirmed that Research in Motion had infringed on patents it didn't hold.

This March, RIM reached a settlement with NTP and agreed to pay NTP $450 million US.

But RIM said NTP has been refusing to follow through on its part of the deal and finalize the settlement.