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BlackBerrys live another day; hearing ends with no ruling

Sat., Feb. 25, 2006, midnight

RICHMOND, Va. – BlackBerry owners will have to wait longer to learn the fate of their wireless e-mail devices: A federal judge ended a hearing Friday without making a ruling on an injunction request.

NTP Inc., a small patent-holding firm that successfully sued RIM for patent infringement, asked U.S. District Judge James R. Spencer to impose an injunction on the service with a 30-day grace period for the parties to work out the details.

The Arlington company also recommended that the judge immediately prohibit sales of new BlackBerry devices and award it an initial $126 million in damages.

“This is a self-inflicted situation,” said NTP attorney James H. Wallace Jr., who compared RIM to a squatter who continued to live rent-free. “It’s just time to pay up.”

Henry C. Bunsow, a RIM attorney, said an injunction won’t be in the public’s best interests.

Although analysts say an actual BlackBerry blackout is unlikely, the uncertainties in this case have rattled everyone from hospital administrators to the Justice Department.

Many of the more than 3 million BlackBerry users in the United States rely on the devices for daily communications.


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