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Thousands of BlackBerry handheld device addicts are daring to breathe a little easier today, as the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued the first final patent rejection against holder NTP.

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NTP has long said that Research in Motion (RIM) violated patent guidelines with their BlackBerry push-email technology, which executives around the world use to stay constantly leashed to their offices. On Friday, though, Judge James Spencer is still set to rule on whether or not to shut down RIM's U.S. BlackBerry services altogether — so no one's out of the woods yet. Spencer still considers the legal rulings and the Patent Office's review processes as two separate proceedings.

BlackBerry maker scores patent win [CNN Money]