The US Department of Justice has filed a brief with the judge hearing the RIM/NTP patent dispute case, begging that the court exempt government agencies from a potential shutdown of the Blackberry service later this month. According to the filing, users from 138 government agencies would need to be kept connected; the government also argued that suggestions by NTP that federal employees be filtered out and kept connected could not "be realistically implemented." One suggestion by the DOJ was for the shutdown to be delayed, but for sales of new Blackberrys to private customers to be halted. An estimated 200,000 Blackberry users work for the government, and the government and RIM have argued that shutting down the service could impact national security. A hearing has been set for February 24, after which the judge may impose an injunction shutting down RIM's service.