NTP: We sue the (wireless) world

NTP is back for more patent goodies. And this time the patent-holding company is suing a lot more than just RIM.

NTP is back for more patent goodies. And this time the patent-holding company is suing a lot more than just RIM. NTP is suing AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint Nextel.

The claims are similar to what were made in NTP's RIM suit, which was a long, drawn out affair that led to a $612.5 million settlement from RIM. Just imagine the riches NTP may pull from giants such as AT&T and Verizon.

In the complaint, NTP sues Verizon--and the rest of the gang--for violating patents such as "electronic mail system with RF communications to mobile processors and method of operation thereof." Nearly all of the patents in the NTP complaint refer to email over mobile phones and processors. After reading the Bloomberg, Techmeme and News.com accounts of the suit I just had to see this debacle of a suit for myself. Here's the PDF of NTP's complaint for your reading enjoyment.

NTP is seeking a jury trial and wants 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."

Edited that passage boils down to "pay me."

I'm no lawyer, but it looks like NTP wants a chunk of every smartphone every sold by wireless carriers. This should be some payday if successful. NTP specifically cites email services offered via the Palm Treo and Motorola Q.

Given that NTP cites its RIM victory as precedent it's surprising that this barrage of patent suits took this long.

If this NTP complaint ever gets to trial it'll be quite an epic battle. NTP is taking on much more than RIM here. RIM got tired. Verizon and AT&T have resources galore. And that duo has quite a following in Washington D.C. Want patent reform? Annoy AT&T and Verizon lobbyists.

The NTP complaint is very broad--anything involving email reportedly is under patent--but who can blame the shell company from trying. It worked once for NTP and it may work again.


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