NTP Inc., a holding company based in Arlington, Va., had earlier won a judgement against Research in Motion in a patent infringment suit. NTP is now accusing Research in Motion of unfairly lobbying the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to re-examine five patents that were central to NTP's earlier victory in patent infringement suit.
Former congressman James Rogan, now the director of the Patent and Trademark Office, ordered the re-examinations on Dec. 26.
According to the Toronto Star, patent re-examinations initiated by the director are extremely rare. Fewer than 150 have been ordered in the past 20 years, out of the more than 2 million patents granted during that period. Usually, re-examinations are prompted by a request filed by a third party. Patents re-examined in this way, are more than twice as likely to be upheld as those challenged by the director of the Patent Office.
The Star has quoted an attorney represnting NTP, James Wallce Jr., as saying "We thought it was highly misleading to imply that the director did this all by himself when we've found out" that Research in Motion was "feeding him papers,"
Robert Kahrl, a lawyer at Jones Day, which represents Research in Motion, said he could not comment on a pending case.