RIM could face $1B settlement fee in NTP case

Judge James Spencer said it is not likely he will delay the NTP patent case against RIM in order to wait for a verdict from the USPTO. Although RIM has won eight initial rulings in their favor from the USPTO, the process could take years. Things don't look good for the BlackBerry maker. A settlement is once again likely, but the $450 million of yesteryear is no loner the going rate. Analysts predict RIM may have to pay up to $1 billion to end the case.

Despite increased competition in the mobile email space, RIM has $1.2 billion in cash and is expected to earn $500 million on $2 billion in revenue this fiscal year, so the $1 billion settlement figure is not entirely out of the company's reach. Although NTP has the upper hand, RIM said that if the judge won't stay the case, they hope to convince him to enforce the original $450 million even though it was never finalized. The judge may not be sympathetic, however, since he noted that he had spent enough of his time and life on the lawsuit.

For more on the NTP, RIM never ending story:
- see this article from BusinessWeek