Print 13 comment(s) - last by redbone75.. on Feb 10 at 1:12 AM

NTP patents before the Blackberry's time has the company seeking to have Research in Motion stopped in its tracks

These days it's pretty rare to see people moving around without cell phones; it's just too difficult to survive without one it seems. Regardless of whether you have a cell phone or not, we're positive that there have been times where one would have made the day a whole lot better.

In the business world, communication is key and having the ability to communicate with partners and customers alike can make a huge difference between having a customer or losing to the competition. In the fast paced business world however, a cell phone just isn't enough. Thus we have the Blackberry -- Research in Motion's (RIM) wildly popular mobile text communicator. Sure it's a bit bigger than your typical cell phone, but it connects people who are on the go with their emails, office information, co-workers, and most importantly customers.

Imagine that business folks everywhere were using Blackberry devices -- which they are. But also imagine that the devices have become so well integrated into the lives of these business people that productivity has never been the same and the ease of staying in touch is so invaluable to them that RIM's devices have become the de facto standard in mobile business communications. Now imagine that RIM announced that's going to suddenly close its doors and cease all partnerships with cellular network providers.

This is something that could very well happen if Donald Stout and Thomas Campana Jr. have their way. In fact, Thomas Campana holds a list of patents that architect how to get computers and mobile devices to seamlessly communicate with each other using text messaging. Not only this, Mr. Stout's company, NTP Inc. has a legion of lawyers now on its side and are suing RIM. So far, NTP is winning.

Thomas Campana passed away in 2004 but still today the battle between NTP and RIM rages on even more so. NTP is claiming that it has had the patents for years prior to the introduction of the BlackBerry, and this is of course true. In RIM's defense, it claims that NTP and Mr. Stout are typical patent "trolls" who don't make use of inventions and instead incubate them in hopes that someone or some company will re-invite the same thing so that there will be a big potential for a lawsuit that would be worth a fortune -- not to mention the ultimate demise of the successful company.

Many people are now holding their breaths in the wait to see the outcome of this court-room debacle. Analysts are saying that the communications lawsuit between NTP and RIM is one of the biggest, if not the biggest in recent US history. Currently, NTP has already filed for an injunction to prevent RIM from further shipping its Blackberry devices. NTP is also hoping to either seek a large amount of ongoing royalties for the Blackberry which would no doubt increase their prices. Currently, RIM is facing damages in the hundreds of millions of dollars and this is only cash value. If NTP comes out on top, RIM, its employees, partners, developers and most importantly its customers everywhere will be looking at one big communications black-out.

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By nomagic on 1/31/2006 4:52:40 PM , Rating: 2
Could someone point me to the summary of patents that NTP has against RIM?

If these patents are like "use instant messenger on a mobile device or send e-mail from a mobile device," it would be rediculus.

RE: Patents
By nomagic on 1/31/2006 5:07:35 PM , Rating: 3
...sent what amounted to a form letter, warning several companies — RIM among them — that they were infringing on wireless e-mail patents. The letter politely invited recipients to negotiate licensing rights with NTP Inc., an unknown company based in Mr. Stout's Virginia home ... Its only notable asset was a drawerful of dusty patents .

The company was based in the home of the owner, and its only notable asset was a drawerful of dusty patents.

The owner probably didn't need any R&D budget except sitting there thinking about what patents he could cook up. Does he deserve the patents that he owned?

Com'on, imagine that one day, everyone starts patent trolling, so he/her can sue big companies and gain a big fortune.

Submarine Patent?
By WhipperSnapper on 1/31/2006 7:00:34 AM , Rating: 2

In RIM's defense, it claims that NTP and Mr. Stout are typical patent "trolls" who don't make use of inventions and instead incubate them in hopes that someone or some company will re-invite the same thing so that there will be a big potential for a lawsuit that would be worth a fortune -- not to mention the ultimate demise of the successful company.

Sounds like it might be a "submarine patent". It lays quiet for years and then resurfaces later to torpedo someone who made the same technology economically viable.

RE: Submarine Patent?
By armagedon on 1/31/2006 10:47:24 AM , Rating: 2
yeah ! i like the analogy...good though.

By Samus on 2/1/2006 3:41:31 AM , Rating: 2
None of you guys understand the story. NTP tried to settle for lowly amounts years ago. RIM bullyed and ignored them until they finally had to sue. THATS what this case is about, principle.

RE: listen
By UNCjigga on 2/6/2006 2:24:39 PM , Rating: 2
Well, AFAIK, RIM and NTP settled last summer, but then NTP decided the settlement was null once Campano Jr. took over.

By ksherman on 1/30/2006 1:31:45 PM , Rating: 2
yikes... I personally dont have any use for one of these new-fangled devices, but I do know many that do. This would not be good for anyone (except the ones suing of course) if NTP were to win...

By knowyourenemy on 1/30/2006 3:59:07 PM , Rating: 2
Patent trolls, indeed.

By hans007 on 1/30/2006 4:10:56 PM , Rating: 2
i just hope this case puts a stop to patent trolling. patenting some idea that is one of those "someone would have thought it up eventually anyway" ideas, like ... "sending email on a pager" is just ridiculous. its not like they designed a complicated protocol for it that is why the USPTO will probably invalidate it. and then sitting there for 9 years without doing anything with the patent and then suing for mililons.

that article makes the trolls seem like they are a bunch of saints. just because RIM is a huge company. but at least RIM got huge by making a real product.

By UNCjigga on 2/6/2006 2:22:05 PM , Rating: 2
Would this lawsuit have been filed if the "loser" of the case had to pay legal fees for all parties?

By redbone75 on 2/10/2006 1:12:14 AM , Rating: 2
The greatest ideas in the world are absolutely useless unless someone is able to do something with them. Citing a lack of available technology is an excuse that is accecptable only for a certain amount of time. All of these patent trolls should have their patents immediately thrown out if they cannot produce a valid product within five years of being awarded the patent. I personnally could care less if a person or company doesn't have the money or resources available to produce or implement their patent. If it's a good enough idea someone with the money and resources is going to want to make it; the person with the patent just has to market the idea. If someone tries to steal the idea, that's what patent laws are designed for. However, if you patent something and don't do anything with the patent, as is the case with RIM and NTP and the idiot patent troll sueing Apple over iTunes, then all you are trying to do is steal money from the people that actually did the work. Your case shouldn't even be allowed before a court if you don't have documents that show you attempted to implement the patent. Patents are just science fiction until they are actually used.

By sprockkets on 1/30/2006 4:34:23 PM , Rating: 1
The patents are ready to be thrown out, yet they did want to make a deal for like 5.7 of profits perpetually.

You know, it kinda sucks to get a patent granted, then lose it later. It is only millions of dollars later that it gets "validated."

By Bremen7000 on 1/30/06, Rating: 0
"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard

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