Research in Motion, the maker of the BlackBerry wireless messaging device, released better than expected third-quarter results Wednesday...

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TORONTO — Research in Motion, the maker of the BlackBerry wireless messaging device, released better than expected third-quarter results Wednesday — quelling some fears that an ongoing patent dispute that threatens to shut down the popular service in the United States is hurting the company.

Profit rose to $120.1 million, or 61 cents a share, from $90.4 million, or 46 cents a share. Sales rose 53 percent to $560.5 million from $365.9 million and were above analysts’ forecasts of $549 million.

Adjusted profit of 71 cents a share topped the 65-cent estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial.

“The business is really soaring. It’s not just doing OK. It’s soaring,” said James Balsillie, the Canadian company’s chairman and co-chief executive. “A lot of people have said ‘Wow, I thought it was all kind of tough,’ but we’ve been telling everybody sales are fine.”

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RIM said it added 645,000 new subscriber accounts, about 25,000 less than projected after it released its second-quarter results. At the end of the third quarter, total BlackBerry subscribers were 4.3 million, more than double last year.

Dennis Kavelman, RIM’s finance chief, said the uncertainty and publicity surrounding the patent dispute caused the reduced forecast.

“The impact of this has been to create some uncertainty among customers. The timing of any resolution and the removal of this uncertainty is difficult to predict; therefore, taking into account these factors, we believe it is prudent to lower the range,” Kavelman said.

RIM’s stock has been battered by litigation that pits it against NTP, a tiny Virginia firm that lays claim to the technology behind BlackBerry. Though most analysts believe the odds of an injunction shutting down the service are low, some larger customers are nervous.

RIM shares closed at $61.76, down 32 cents, before its earnings were released. In after-hours trading, the shares gained $3.64, or 5.9 percent, to $65.40.