NTP Sues Six Companies Over Wireless E-Mail Patents
Back in 2006, NTP and Research In Motion, makers of the BlackBerry, settled in court a wireless e-mail patent dispute that NTP alleged RIM violated in its BlackBerry devices. That first went into the courts in 2001 and it took five years to settle in which RIM paid NTP $612.5 million. Now, NTP has set its sights on six other companies over the same wireless e-mail patent infringement. Those six companies are Apple, Microsoft, Google, HTC, LG, and Motorola. NTP alleges that all six of them infringe on eight different patents for "delivery of electronic mail over wireless communications systems." Basically, if your cellphone notifies you of a new e-mail and allows you to read it, your cellphone is violating an NTP patent.
After its victory over RIM, NTP went on to sue AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile. In those lawsuits, the US Patent and Trademark Office made a ruling that invalidated all of the patents. Last year though, the USPTO Board of Patent Appeals ruled that 67 claims in four of NTP's patents are valid which gave the company hope that the rest of its patents will also be declared valid. That hope is also enabling NTP to sue the other six companies just in case the remaining patents are validated.
Whatever will happen, it is good that NTP won that $600 million a few years ago because it looks like it will come in handy.