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Supreme Court Opens Possibility Of U.S. BlackBerry Ban

U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts on Wednesday denied a request by Research In Motion Ltd. to stay further court proceedings in NTP Inc.'s patent-infringement suit, leaving open the possibility that a lower court could prohibit RIM from providing BlackBerry service or selling the handheld devices in the United States.

RIM had made an emergency request with the high court, asking it to stop all lower-court proceedings while it decided whether to consider RIM's appeal. Roberts denied the request without comment, but RIM said in a statement, "The Supreme Court was not asked to, and did not decide, whether it ultimately will accept an appeal of the decision in this case."

RIM was hoping to prevent a U.S. District Court from deciding whether to ban the Warterloo, Ontario, company from selling the popular BlackBerry handheld device in the United States.

As a result of the latest decision, RIM said in a statement that it "expects NTP to ask the District Court to enter a new injunction prohibiting RIM from providing BlackBerry service and from using, selling, manufacturing or importing its handhelds and software in the United States."

Robert P. Andris, intellectual property attorney and partner in the Redwood City, Calif., law office of Ropers Majeski Kohn & Bentley, said RIM's chances of getting an emergency hearing from the high court were slim from the beginning.

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