US government rejects two more NTP patents

The US Patent and Trademark Office this week rejected two more patents on wireless email technology held by NTP, giving BlackBerry maker RIM more wiggle room as it renegotiates its settlement with NTP. Seven of the eight NTP patents under review by the patent office have now been rejected and a ruling on the remaining patent is expected soon. RIM and NTP are in the midst of another legal wrangling as their settlement has come to an impasse. If NTP's eigth patent is rejected, RIM may be able to avoid signing any agreement with NTP.

RIM earlier this month shocked the wireless industry when it said that its March agreement to settle its lond-standing patent dispute with NTP had broken down. RIM has gone to court to seek enforcement of the agreement, under which RIM agreed to pay NTP $450 million to end the dispute. NTP claims that the agreement was preliminary and says the two sides disagreed over final terms. NTP is threatening to seek reinstatement of a previous court order that would ban RIM from selling BlackBerry handhelds and service in the US until the suit is settled. No further details of the breakdown are available.

For more on the latest NTP patent rejection:
- see this report from today's Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)

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