Patent Troll NTP is Back at it, Suing Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Others
July 9, 2010 2:00 PM
comment(s) - last by
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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RE: My first -1
7/11/2010 5:42:42 PM
How about if I patent a wearable display that beams an image on the eye with a laser? Clearly it will be done sometime in the future, should I simply patent it and wait for some brilliant engineer to make it before I sue him and his company for all they've got?
Ideas are worth nothing, it's what you do with them that should count.
RE: My first -1
7/11/2010 8:28:53 PM
The current US patent system requires you to not only conceive of an idea, but you must have reduced the invention to practice as well. So, therefore, your idea of having a wearable display... is not yet patentable, until you reduce the idea to practice.
That, however, does not mean that there has to be a current market for your patentable idea that you reduced to practice. For instance, it is ok that no cell phones had e-mail back in 1991, as long as the inventor of the patent reduced it to practice (i.e., had a mobile device that could receive e-mail via RF signals), he can receive the patent on it. If later a market appears for the device, he can then assert his rights in the invention by way of the patent.
The patent system is not as ludicrous as you make it out to be.
RE: My first -1
7/12/2010 10:11:52 AM
I suppose I could make a clunky, heavy device that projects some simple image on the eye just in order to be able to claim the invention is in practice, never mind that its crudeness would make it useless until some engineers refine it twenty years from now.
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