Judge rejects request for hearings on BlackBerry injunction exemption

A federal judge rejected a request from the Justice Department for an additional round of hearings into whether and how government users of the popular BlackBerry wireless communications devices could be exempted from a possible injunction against BlackBerry usage nationwide.

Judge James Spencer of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., denied the request Tuesday, days before a hearing into the potential injunction begins on Friday.

Justice asked for a hearing earlier this month claiming that there is no consensus on how government users could be spared from any shutdown.

The injunction is possible because of a long-running patent dispute between BlackBerry developer Research in Motion Ltd. of Waterloo, Ontario, and patent license holder NTP of Arlington, Va.

NTP claims'and the federal courts have largely agreed'that RIM willfully infringed upon NTP's patents when it started marketing the BlackBerry devices.

Because the parties have not settled the case, NTP is seeking an injunction against BlackBerry usage.

The Justice Department did want to comment on the decision. RIM did not immediately return a telephone call for comment.

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