Research In Motion (RIM) and NTP have settled their long-standing legal battle, with RIM paying NTP $612.5 million to settle all of NTP's patent claims against it.

NTP has granted RIM an unfettered right to continue its business, including its BlackBerry business, according to a RIM statement. All terms of the agreement have been finalised and the case against RIM was dismissed by a court order on Friday afternoon.

The case had threatened to shut down service to most of the millions of BlackBerry users in the US. NTP was seeking an injunction against RIM in the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. At a hearing last week, Judge James Spencer did not rule on the injunction but slammed the companies for failing to settle the case. RIM had said it had a workaround for the RIM service that would steer clear of NTP's patents.

The agreement relates to all patents owned and controlled by NTP and covers all of RIM's products, the statement said. It eliminates the need for any further court proceedings or decisions, RIM said.

At the hearing last week, RIM's lawyers, including Henry Bunsow, argued an injunction would hurt the economy because BlackBerry devices play a "crucial role" in important industries, such as hospitals, utilities and banks.

NTP lawyers said RIM had continued to use NTP's technology even though a jury ruled for NTP in its claim for wireless email patents in August 2003.

In August 2003, the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia ruled in favour of NTP, based in Arlington, Virginia, and ordered RIM to pay damages of $53.7 million.

In December 2004, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit rejected an earlier injunction issued by the Virginia district court. The district court issued the original injunction in August 2003 but stayed the ruling pending appeal.

(Grant Gross in Washington contributed to this story)