Updated from 2:33 p.m. EDTDealt another setback in a long-running patent dispute, Research In Motion ( RIMM) is throwing a Hail Mary pass. On Friday, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on Friday denied RIM's request to have its case re-heard by an en banc panel of 12 judges. The appeals court had previously
The market also seemed to question RIM's position in the case. The stock fell nearly more than 7% after a trading halt. In recent trading, the company's shares were off $4.95, or 7.4%, to $62.02. Although the odds are against the Supreme Court hearing the case, RIM has good reason to ask for a higher court review, said Neuberger. The case could ultimately cost RIM hundreds of millions of dollars -- and even bar it from offering its BlackBerry services in the U.S., which is by far the company's largest market. "The stakes are so big, that it's probably worth making the arguments" encouraging the Supreme Court to review the case, Neuberger said. "There's always a chance
the Supreme Court will take it." Even if the high court doesn't ultimately review the case, it could take months to decide one way or another, giving RIM more time to pursue a settlement with NTP, he noted. A federal district court in 2002 found RIM guilty of infringing 16 patent claims held by NTP, and granted NTP $58 million in damages. Last December, the appeals court largely upheld the lower court decision, affirming that NTP infringed 11 patent claims. The appeals court narrowed that ruling in August, reversing four more claims of infringement while upholding seven. Unless the Supreme Court decides to review the case -- or the companies decide to settle out of court -- the case will return to the lower court. A previous settlement attempt, which would have required RIM to pay NTP $450 million, fell through in June. Assuming the companies don't settle before hand, the lower court will determine a judgment against RIM. Wyss was unaware of any present settlement discussions, although he added that "NTP has always been willing to talk with RIM about settlement."
Friday's court ruling was expected by some legal experts. After the appeals court in August modified its original ruling, NTP's attorneys argued that the appeals court was highly unlikely to revisit the case in an en banc panel.