TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: RIM Still Open to "Reasonable" NTP Settlement

RIM Still Open to "Reasonable" NTP Settlement

Reuters News Wire (
Fri, 17 Feb 2006 12:58:05 -0600

Research In Motion Ltd. has not shut down communications with
U.S. patent holding firm NTP Inc. and remains open to a "reasonable
settlement opportunity," its chief financial officer said on Friday.

With one week before a February 24 court hearing on NTP's request for
an injunction to halt U.S. service of RIM's BlackBerry e-mail device,
he also repeated that Canadian firm's technical workaround will avert
any blackout.

"We haven't shut down communications" with NTP, said CFO Dennis
Kavelman at a CIBC World Markets conference.

"You know if there's a reasonable settlement opportunity that we'd be
there. I think we showed last year that we were willing to settle

In early 2005, Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM agreed to pay $450 million
to resolve its long-running legal dispute with NTP, but the deal
unraveled just months later.

NTP sued RIM in the United States for patent infringement in 2002 and
won an injunction in 2003 to shut down U.S. service. That injunction
was stayed pending appeals.

In what has been described as the latest move in a high-stakes poker
match, RIM announced details last week of a workaround plan that it
says will let U.S. BlackBerry service continue even if it loses the
patent fight.

"We have very strong contingency plans," Kavelman said. "The critical
thing for us is really to keep our customers confident in knowing that
the service isn't going to get shut down."

In a court filing last month, RIM said it stands to lose customers
even after rolling out a workaround. "It is reasonably certain that
some of RIM's existing customers will opt for other providers
... rather than go through the trouble of installing the new
software," it said.

Subscribers won't see any changes from the contingency software, which
could be activated if there is an injunction, RIM has said.

The company, which has more than 3 million subscribers in the United
States, can appeal any rulings from the U.S. District Court, Kavelman

"Whatever happens at the district court level can also be taken to
other appeal levels," he said.

RIM shares were up $1.72 or 2.4 percent on Friday at $72.32 on Nasdaq
and ahead C$1.84 or 2.3 percent at C$83.31 on the Toronto Stock

($1=$1.15 Canadian)

Copyright 2006 Reuters Limited.

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