A federal judge moved a step closer Wednesday to reissuing an injunction that threatens BlackBerry e-mail service in the United States, placing more pressure on the wireless device's maker, Research In Motion Ltd., to settle a patent case.
The judge rejected RIM's bid to enforce a preliminary $450 million settlement reached earlier this year with NTP Inc., a small firm that has convinced a jury that BlackBerry infringes on its patents for wireless communication.
U.S. District Judge James R. Spencer next plans to address damages and, once again, an injunction that would force RIM to halt BlackBerry service in the United States. After a jury decided against RIM in 2002, Spencer held off on the injunction pending appeals.
Analysts and industry observers say RIM, based in Waterloo, Ontario, likely would be forced to settle the lawsuit for as much as $1 billion.