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RIM Lays Down Burden

Shares of Research In Motion (RIMM) took off on Tuesday after the company announced a settlement in a long-running patent dispute.

But look for shares to continue to rise.

The company's stock hit triple digits in December on what turned out to be a wrong impression that it had won a decision in the patent case. With the anchor of the proceedings now out of the way, the company's stock will likely return to those heights, some investors and analysts think.

"When will it [return to its highs]? I have no clue. Will it happen? I have no doubts," said Jay Somaney, a portfolio manager with TSG Capital Group, whose fund is long RIM. "I'm glad this thing is out of the way."

Other analysts were less cautious than Somaney on the timing. The stock will likely return to the $95-to-$100-a-share range in the near term, said one buy-side analyst, who asked not to be named. And the stock could go beyond that if the company beats expectations and raises its guidance when it reports its earnings next month.

"I don't see any reason why it doesn't get back up there," said the analyst, whose firm recently went long on RIM.

In recent trading, shares of the wireless email device and service provider were making a strong move up, rising $12.03, or 17.9%, to $79.12.

The settlement announced Tuesday involves a lawsuit filed by holding company NTP. NTP had charged RIM with violating a series of its patents related to wireless email services. The company had won two court decisions against RIM, the most recently in December, when an appeals court upheld most of NTP's claims against RIM.

Under the settlement agreement, RIM will pay NTP $450 million to settle all past and future infringement claims. The wireless messaging company had already placed about $137 million in reserve related to settling the dispute. RIM plans to expense much of the remaining $313 million in its fiscal fourth quarter, which ended last month.
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