RICHMOND, Va. Nov 30, 2005 — A federal judge ruled Wednesday that a $450 million settlement between a small patent holding firm and the maker of BlackBerry e-mail devices, Research in Motion Ltd., is not valid.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge James R. Spencer is a victory for NTP Inc., an Arlington company that has argued the technology behind the popular BlackBerry infringes on its patents.
Canada's RIM had sought to uphold an agreement reached earlier this year, though NTP said it was never finalized.
Spencer could next consider reissuing an injunction that threatens to shut down U.S. BlackBerry service. However, analysts and industry observers expect RIM will be backed in a corner and forced to settle for a sum as high as $1 billion.
The Nasdaq market had halted trading of BlackBerry's shares about 10:45 a.m. pending an important announcement.