It may not make any difference to the judge hearing the RIM/NTP case -- Judge James Spencer has said the patent review process should have no bearing on his ruling -- but execs at RIM must be breathing at least a small sigh of relief now that the US Patent and Trademark Office has issued a final rejection of one of NTP's patents. The PTO had previously issued preliminary rejections of all five of the patents at issue in the case. Pundits (and, no doubt, RIM brass) are now saying that the decision might convince Judge Spencer to delay his ruling on whether or not to enforce an injunction that could shut down all BlackBerry service in the US as early as Friday. We think not. This is Spencer's 15 minutes of fame, and he knows that to really milk his moment in the spotlight, he's got to do something bold on Friday, and allowing things to drag on definitely isn't bold.

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