Fix May Allow BlackBerrys to Continue Service

WASHINGTON – Research in Motion (RIM), the maker of BlackBerry handheld computers frequently used by law enforcement and other emergency responders, has developed contingency software that works around NTP Inc.’s patent claims.

RIM says it has modified the underlying elements of its system so they are outside the scope of NTP’s patent. This would allow the BlackBerry service to continue should the court implement an injunction against the company’s use of the system’s original technology.

According to RIM, the fix works as well as the current system and the user’s experience with the product is not affected by the changes.

RIM also claims its legal experts say the solution does not infringe on any of NTP’s remaining patent claims.

The threat of a BlackBerry shutdown stems from a 5-year-old patent dispute involving RIM and NTP. NTP claims that BlackBerry infringes on its patents, and a jury agreed with NTP.

As a result, there is a possibility that BlackBerry services could be shut down, affecting law enforcement and other government workers. NTP says, however, that an injunction would not affect BlackBerrys used by federal, state or local governments.

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