Mobility

RIM was not enough: NTP sues four major telcos for patent infringement


In my blog post, "Motorola subsidiaries sue Aruba over WLAN patent infringements: Are others next?", I highlighted the rapidly growing list of tech companies embroiled in patent infringement law suits. Thanks to NTP-a patent holding company well known for its successful law suit against Research In Motion (RIM)-four more companies can be added to that list. NTP is suing Verizon, AT&T, Sprint Nextel, and T-Mobile USA for similar patent infringement.

NTP is especially interested with T-Mobile's Wing and AT&T's Xpress Mail, which were specifically mentioned in the patent suit. As was the case in the RIM law suit, NTP is asking for an injunction and unspecified damages. As with the RIM suit, NTP's new actions will generate a great deal of interest due to the huge user-base that depends on mobile e-mail services provided by these four national carriers.

In their current suits, NTP claims infringement upon five of the eight patents they cited in their 2002 RIM case. Last year, NTP reached a $612.5 million settlement with RIM. NTP also has an unresolved patent suit against Palm. Many telecommunication and IT analysts wonder if NTP has its sights set on other companies.

Despite it success again RIM, NTP may have a tougher time with its cases against the carriers. According to a September 12, 2007 Wallstreet Journal article, recent patent case rulings involving KSR International Co. and eBay "could make it harder to defend the validity of patents against claims that the underlying inventions are 'obvious'" and "make it more difficult for plaintiffs to get injunctions after a jury rules infringement has occurred."

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4 comments
mreekie
mreekie

It seems to me that this company operates like a speculator and adds no value to the IT industry.

zatnktelaus
zatnktelaus

NTP or any other company that tries to sue any australian companys i will be up on a murder charge all you are is evil

jpclermont900
jpclermont900

I find these patents awarded on ideas and not on implementation are at the least frivolous and stifle creativity. We should patent only implementations of an idea. Most software patents are obvious and based on processes that have already been implemented in nature or in objects we use in our societies. All of us have used a thing for a purposed that was not intended by its designer. Should I be allowed to patent that new use? I do not think so. That is how I feel.

DadsPad
DadsPad

Two major things need to happen. NTP is a patent holding company, meaning they are investors and patent lawyers. They have people researching the patent offices constantly. They offer financial relief for companies by buying their patents. Then suing other companies for patent enfringment. The lawyers are inventive on applications of the patents. This needs to be revised to curtail patent holding companies from freezing development by fear of lawsuits. The second thing is that companies will either not research that a patent already exists or just blatently use someone elses patent without their consent. That was the case in the RIM technology. They will not find the big telecomms such an easy target. Think about it, if if Nextel had invented RIM technology, they would have patented it. Instead they used it for years knowing it was not legally theirs. Or, if Nextel had an agreement to use RIM and pay patent rights to use, they would not have lost the suit. [Well maybe, the court decisions are sometimes strange.]

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