Washington (DC) – The US Patent and Trademark office confirmed to TG Daily this afternoon that it has issued a final rejection of one of the five patents currently being contested by NTP in its patent action against BlackBerry manufacturer Research in Motion. This rejection comes despite repeated warnings that the Patent Office could take months to issue such a ruling.
Earlier in the day, Reuters reported that the USPTO had posted the news to its Web site; but a USPTO spokesperson indicated to us that this report was premature. The report is expected to be issued later today. UPDATE 4:36 pm ET: An entry in the USPTO database for the patent in question now appears at the top of the list, “02-22-2006: Final Rejection Mailed.”
If anything could conceivably put a damper on District Judge James Spencer’s plans to wrap up his injunction decision by his scheduled date of Friday, this could be it. If the judge were to order his injunction to proceed, in effect lifting his own stay, it could only be to protect four of the five patents that had been under consideration. RIM can now appeal the court’s prior injunction, based on the merits of the single patent that has now been completely and finally rejected.