Patent Troll NTP is Back at it, Suing Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Others
July 9, 2010 2:00 PM
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It's been years since infamous patent troll NTP actually developed any new intellectual property or looked to produce anything. Yet it's just launched its biggest suit yet, suing Microsoft, Google, Apple, and more.
Life is good for NTP -- they don't have to make anything to make money, they just sue people who do
The last time notorious Virginia-based patent troll NTP, Inc. climbed out of its cave was back in 2007 to
Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint Nextel
for patent infringement
. We guessed at the time that we hadn't seen the last of the firm. We were right.
NTP, Inc. just
filed a massive new suit
against Apple, Google, Microsoft, HTC, LG, and Motorola claiming the firms are in massive violation of its patents on wireless email technologies. One has to wonder, even given NTP, Inc.'s vast experience in litigation, if it has this time bit off more than it can chew by declaring war on virtually
all the tech industry's top players
(well... besides IBM, HP, and Dell -- maybe they're next).
The firm does have a
under its belt from a
$612M USD settlement
with Blackberry maker Research in Motion over the same technologies. After its loss, RIM fought to invalidate NTP's patents. It succeeded in getting some examined and overturned, but improper dealings with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office weighed heavily on its reexamination requests, leading to 67 claims in four of NTP reviewed patents surviving.
With those patents intact, NTP still had enough ammo to apparently go gunning for the top players in the smart phone industry today. NTP's cofounder Donald E. Stout complains, "Use of NTP's intellectual property without a license is just plain unfair to NTP and its licensees. Unfortunately, litigation is our only means of ensuring the inventor of the fundamental technology on which wireless email is based, Tom Campana, and NTP shareholders are recognized, and are fairly and reasonably compensated for their innovative work and investment. We took the necessary action to protect our intellectual property."
NTP -- or at least its other co-founder -- at one time could be considered an innovator in the fields of internet software and electronics. It was co-founded with the late inventor Thomas J. Campana Jr. who invented and patented a form of push email back in 1990. Campana Jr.'s numerous patents formed the basis of NTP's IP library.
In recent years, though NTP has developed no new technology and has only subsisted off a career of zealous litigation against companies like RIM and others who
produce products. Palm was among NTP's other recent victims, being
sued back in 2006
Such patent battles typically drag out for some time in court, so the conclusion of this one may not come for some time.
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Not so obvious solution
7/10/2010 6:47:02 PM
With these overly broad IP patents involving Radio Frequencies which cover the range between 30KHz and 300Ghz, the only solution is to switch to Microwave to still use the same technology and avoid NTP's claims of infringement. Of course, NTP probably already thought of that and is probably in the process of getting those patents as well.
Clear Wireless uses WiMax and that is Microwave, so if Sprint carries data for email access over their 4G Network via Clear and thus Microwave broadband, that portion should be exempt from this lawsuit.
"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home
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