Updated from 2:24 p.m. EDT

The hits just keep coming for Research In Motion ( RIMM).

On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the company's request to delay proceedings in a long-running patent dispute with NTP while RIM put together -- and the high court considered -- an appeal in the case. The decision is only the latest legal setback for RIM, which faces the possibility of being barred from offering its popular BlackBerry service in the U.S. as an outcome of the case.

The decision clears the way for a district court to resume consideration of the case. The court, which already found RIM guilty of infringing NTP's patents, will consider whether to re-impose an injunction against the company's BlackBerry service.

"This is an important development," said Jim Wallace, an attorney with Wiley Rein Fielding, which represents NTP.

But, in a statement, RIM disputed that notion, suggesting that the Supreme Court was simply following normal procedures. The high court may still decide to take up the case, a factor that the district court will have to weigh into its proceedings, RIM said.

"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 company said in the statement.

Representatives of RIM did not immediately return calls seeking further comment.

The denial of the stay was issued without an explanation from Chief Justice John Roberts.

But investors seemed relatively untroubled by the development. In recent trading, RIM shares were off just 7 cents, or less than 1%, to $57.33. Earlier in the session, when news broke that there was a court decision, RIM's stock was off as much as 6.5%.

Regardless of the ruling, RIM can still file an appeal with the Supreme Court. However, today's decision, issued by Chief Justice Roberts, is a strong indication that the high court would ultimately decline to hear the appeal or overrule lower court decisions in the case, Wallace said.

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