A preliminary ruling by the United States patent office yesterday undermined claims by a company whose lawsuit could shut down the BlackBerry service in the United States, the New York Times reported today. Research in Motion, the Canadian maker of the BlackBerry, said the decision meant that the patent office had twice rejected all five patents controlled by NTP that are related to BlackBerry lawsuits, according to the Times. NTP is an intellectual property company based in Arlington, Va. Real estate agents are among the most dedicated users of BlackBerries, and have been concerned because the legal actions could shut down the approximately 4 million Blackberries used nationally. The wireless devices send and receive e-mail and have small keyboards that replicate that of a PC. The most recent decision clears the way for a final ruling from the patent office, which may occur by next month. But if, as expected, the final decision supports Research in Motion, NTP still has two avenues of...
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