Research in Motion Ltd. lost a U.S. Supreme Court bid Wednesday to block proceedings that might result in a nationwide shutdown of its BlackBerry e-mail service.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. rejected the company's request to stop lower-court proceedings while it pursues a Supreme Court review of a patent-infringement finding. The focus of the case now shifts to a federal court in Richmond, Va., where a trial judge will consider halting BlackBerry sales and service in the U.S. for individuals and companies.
That process is likely to take months, patent owner NTP Inc. said in a court filing that urged Roberts to reject the request. By then, Research in Motion will have had a chance to seek full Supreme Court consideration of its appeal, NTP said. Roberts' action Wednesday was limited to denying Research in Motion's request for a stay.
NTP said it had made repeated settlement offers to address Research in Motion's business needs and that the company had failed to respond to many of the offers.
Research in Motion, based in Waterloo, Canada, said it planned to ask the full Supreme Court to review the case.
Closely held NTP, a patent-licensing firm based in Arlington, Va., sued Research in Motion in November 2001. A year later, a federal jury in Richmond found that Research in Motion used NTP's e-mail technology without permission. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld part of that finding.