Patent-Holder Lashes Out at Wireless Arms of Verizon, AT&T, Sprint

Patent-holder Guardian Location Systems is suing Verizon Wireless, AT&T Mobility and Sprint Nextel Corp. for alleged infringement of its cell-phone location intellectual property.

Guardian Location Systems, which doesnt appear to have a website, said earlier this month in a court filing that the three wireless service providers are illegally using technology covered in its five-year-old patent for location tracking. Verizon, Sprint and AT&T all offer family-locator plans. Guardian Location Systems wants a permanent injunction against the carriers or ongoing royalties, if it cant bar the companies from offering the location service. Guardian Location Systems further wants an award for damages, costs and interest, as well as enhanced damages” and attorneys fees.

The suit sounds like yet another in a parade of cases filed against tech companies by so-called patent trolls” as certain technologies prove profitable. Such proceedings often end up in settlement, with providers licensing the technology in question. The operators pay less in a settlement than they would in seeing a case through to the end, and the patent troll reaps hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars as a result.

In July, patent-holder NTP the company that squeezed a $612.5 million settlement out of BlackBerry maker Research In Motion sued Apple Inc., Google Inc., HTC Corp., LG Electronics, Microsoft Corp. and Motorola Inc. NTP says the firms are infringing on eight of its patents that cover the wireless delivery of e-mail to cell phones.

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