NTP starts suing again

Best known for extracting the whopping $612.5 million settlement from RIM, the makers of the BlackBerry, NTP has filed suit again.

This time, the lawsuits are directed against AT&T, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless, alleging infringements of several mobile e-mail patents owned by NTP, a patent-holding company based in Virginia.

Still, things might work out differently this time round. According to Ars Technica:

This promises to be a long and drawn-out battle, but the legal landscape has changed since the RIM settlement. In May 2006, the US Supreme Court handed down a decision in MercExchange v. eBay, another patent infringement lawsuit. That case concerned a pair of online auctions patents granted to MercExchange that eBay was found to have infringed upon.

... [it was eventually ruled that if] the patent-holder is doing nothing more than licensing the patents and is not competing with the infringing party, a permanent injunction should not be issued, according to the Supreme Court.

Now, NTP is strictly a patent holding firm. So, what it means is that unlike the earlier RIM case where the threat of permanent injunction was utilized against RIM, this should no longer be the case here.

Hence, it is likely that this case could drag on for a long time. Do you think that NTP's patents will be overturned by then?