Patent-holder NTP is at it again.
The company, which most notably squeezed a $612.5 million settlement out of BlackBerry maker Research In Motion, now is suing Apple Inc., Google Inc., HTC Corp., LG Electronics, Microsoft Corp. and Motorola Inc. over eight patents it says cover the wireless delivery of e-mail to cell phones. The question, as MarketWatch put it, is whether NTP can stand up to its rich foes. NTP has no Web site and no listed phone number, and seems to be acting out of desperation — its patents expire in 2012, according to reports.
NTP is considered a patent troll. It manufactures nothing, but holds a number of patents and has demonstrated its willingness to fight for royalties and licensing of that property. And since NTP has the RIM-settlement as precedence, it could well prevail in its latest lawsuit. Indeed, in an ever-more-competitive tech world, charges of patent infringement have become almost commonplace, as winning such cases has proven lucrative.
None of the six companies under fire from NTP had official statements on the suit. NTP is seeking licensing fees from each of the firms its targeting.
NTP was founded by inventor Thomas Campana; NTP calls Campana, who died in 2004, the inventor of wireless e-mail. Campana held 50 patents and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Board of Patent Appeals recently found most of NTPs patents, which came under scrutiny for perhaps being too vague, valid.
RIM paid NTP in early 2006 to avoid a shutdown of its BlackBerry e-mail service in the United States.