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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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RE: Patent Troll
By feelingshorter on 9/13/2007 11:18:21 PM , Rating: 2
Not uncommon. I read the wall street journal a lot and they explained it clearly how this works. Often, lawyers will buy patents when they think they can make a good argument for it to get money out of it. They then create a company, that doesn't really do anything, or sell anything, except sue people for patent infringement. Following the new york times news, under the caption, best describes these entities as:
quote:
"a kind of virtual company."


There is really no surprises here. They aren't the first "virtual company" and i've seen articles like this in both WSJ and businessweek. Happens ALL THE TIME. There are more virtual companies run by teams of lawyers than you think.


"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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