The company is circling the wagons in preparation for what might be the final showdown with the RIAA.

Last week, several companies – ranging from high-tech to medical – filed friend-of-court briefs either defending Napster or presenting dire predictions of what Judge Marilyn Patel’s original ruling could mean to computer technology and the online community.

One of the largest trade groups to submit a brief was the Consumer Electronics Association which represents 600 members, including America Online, Microsoft, Intel and Apple Computer. The organization claims that Patel misapplied copyright law that protects non-infringing technologies. The group claims that Napster has non-infringement capabilities.

Another group was the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, which claimed in its brief that Patel’s Napster ruling could be used to shut down Web sites that provide medical information. As an example, the group cited online research of the drug Ritalin.

“What if the owner of Ritalin asserted its intellectual property rights, and demanded that Yahoo only provide authorized links on Ritalin?” the group wrote. “The outcome would [be] that criticism of the use of Ritalin would be effectively silenced.”