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Patent monger NTP targets Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint Nextel for patent infringement

Holding company NTP is quickly cementing its reputation as a patent troll. NTP is now suing U.S. wireless carriers Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint Nextel -- claiming that each are in breach of eight patents.

The lawsuits accuse the companies of infringing upon patents related to the sending of emails to mobile phones. NTP seeks jury trials, injunctive relief and monetary compensation related to the sales of phones, PDA and other related communication devices.

NTP complained that the big four U.S. wireless companies violate patents related to “electronic mail system with RF communications to mobile processors and method of operation thereof.” NTP then requested for a U.S. District Court “to enjoin infringement and obtain damages resulting from the Defendant’s unauthorized manufacture, use, sale, offer for sale and/or importation into the United States for subsequent use of sale of products, methods, processes, services and/or systems that infringe one or more claims of U.S. State Patent No. 5,436,960.”

The new lawsuit carries echoes of NTP’s chase on Blackberry maker Research in Motion. After a legal battle that carried on for years, RIM eventually settled to pay NTP $612.5 million in March 2003. At the time, NTP accused RIM of violating a mobile email patent – not unlike what is NTP is alleging that the U.S. wireless companies are infringing upon.

After the settlement, RIM chief executive Jim Balsillie said, "It's not a good feeling to write this kind of check. It's a lot of money for patents that will not survive for sure … We are caught in an ambiguous time in the patent laws and the courts. No one feels good about this, but we are happy to put it behind us."

Unfortunately for other wireless technology companies, NTP’s patents lived on to haunt Palm, which was sued on not dissimilar grounds as the RIM case. NTP quickly followed-up on its successful legal battle with RIM by suing Palm during November 2006. The lawsuit against Palm was also over handheld products that provide email services through a wireless network.

Palm disputed the validity of the patents with the U.S. Patent Office, made a preliminary decision to rule against NTP in Palm’s – and perhaps the entire wireless industry’s – favor. NTP is currently appealing the decision by the U.S. Patent Office.

NTP was founded in 1992 by the late inventor Thomas J. Campana Jr., and holds around 50 patents as its primary asset. After the passing of Campana, NTP is now run by company attorney Donald E. Stout.

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By Master Kenobi on 9/13/2007 3:24:49 PM , Rating: 3
A good read, I had followed the RIM disaster when it happened.

However, I'm waiting for him to tackle AT&T which won't cave like RIM did and will almost certaintly erase most if not all of his patents.

The real trick comes if he tries to argue it affects Microsoft (Exchange Mobile Capability) or Intel (Maker of wireless technologies in computers and many mobile devices) either one of them would destroy this clown.

By xphile on 9/13/2007 9:51:18 PM , Rating: 2
That was indeed an excellent read - well upmarked.

It truly totally sickens me that these lecherous leeches can feel they can take some old claims that broadly mention a few phrases and later specify them as specifically relating to someone else's development. They are SO broad they could relate to nearly damn anything in many cases.

RIM didnt need a single glance at their rubbish patents to do what they did. What kind of society is it when someone can say sorry, looks like someone MAY have done something possibly similar in the past - you are going to have to pay them for it.

If I didn't refer to your crappy work to get where I got to - why the hell should I have to pay you a god damned cent? If I did it all myself even if I did redo the same thing you did, but if I can prove I did it without reference to your work - then it is MY work and just because you maybe did it first shouldnt mean a damn thing.

Then there is the issue that EVEN IF we maybe say ok well it is very clear that you both did the same thing (and sure as hell none of these alleged patent
infringements is even remotely clear that there is real repetition) but ok in cases where maybe it IS clear repetition exists. Then ok maybe it would be a fair practice to say something was due where my continued use of that same work (done by me) was worth something in terms of payment to you because I am in some way affecting the line of business you are in. Id be ok with that.

But not these slimy scum patent holders who have no other business but trying to use the patents to leech of the REAL technology developers in the hopes that they will fold - or the scum way they go about it - targeting the small guys first to build up cash and momentum, and preparing themselves for the bigger prey with results and cash. Often they will take down the really small players, maybe the next real technological marvel gets killed before it ever has a chance to shine - if it happened we'd never know.

In the business world - and particularly in the tech world - this kind of business, its intent and all its staff is the scummiest kind of scum there is. There is no productivity done here, no benefit to anyone else, only pain and suffering in every possible respect. It is like society decided hey some people should legally be able to steal - because legalised theft is pretty much what this is.

Still there is some small justice I guess. Stout's partner Campana died of cancer - how very apt. All I can say is you and all like you should take it as a warning Stout - what goes around comes around.

"Vista runs on Atom ... It's just no one uses it". -- Intel CEO Paul Otellini
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