The US Supreme Court rejected a request by Canada’s Research in Motion to intervene in the patent dispute over RIM’s Blackberry wireless communications devices.

The decision, which had been expected, mean the case which pits RIM against NTP, a US-based patents holding company, will now revert to a lower court that is likely to be asked to impose a ban on sales of Blackberry devices in the US.

Chief Justice John Roberts, who was asked to review the case on an emergency basis, rejected the petition without comment. His decision came just days after a US appeals court also refused to delay proceedings to enforce the injunction sought by NTP.

RIM agreed earlier this year to pay $450m to settle the dispute with NTP which claims it owns the patents to the technology used in the Blackberry. But that deal fell through and NTP took the matter back to court where a judge has already issued an injunction that would prevent RIM from selling, importing or providing services for the Blackberry in violation of the patents

RIM, whose shares have been buffeted by the legal dispute, said on Wednesday that the denial of the emergency petition does not necessarily mean the high court will not review the case at some point. “The Supreme Court was not asked to, and did not decide, whether it ultimately will accept an appeal of the decision in this case.

“Rather, the Supreme Court merely decided that it would follow its normal course of allowing the District Court to decide whether and to what extent to continue the litigation in light of all relevant circumstances, including the prospect that the Supreme Court may decide to hear the case.”

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