Research In Motion (RIMM) got a bit of good news on Thursday in its long-running patent dispute with NTP.
In a provisional move, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejected one of the patents at the heart of that dispute. The PTO could still change its mind, but the ruling is at least the second of its kind and represents an incremental step forward for RIM in its efforts to resist NTP's claims on the BlackBerry messenger.
Don Stout, co-founder of NTP and an attorney for the firm with Antonelli, Terry, Stout & Kraus, said he hadn't yet read the PTO's decision, but didn't seem particularly worried by it. Stout noted that the decision was part of the PTO's ongoing process of re-examining NTP's patents.
"We have months to respond. This is more of an administrative process," he said.Representatives for RIM did not immediately return calls seeking comment. The patent dispute between RIM and NTP, a Virginia-based patent holding company, has been proceeding on two separate tracks. In court, a jury found that RIM's popular BlackBerry service infringed on NTP patents covering wireless email systems. A federal appeals court largely