Ntp patent lawsuits

NTP is once again suing over patents they hold for the wireless collection of e-mail data, charging Google, Motorola, HTC, LG, Microsoft and Apple with infringement.  (Seems they forgot carrier pigeon breeders and pilots who fly banner ads).  Many of you will remember the drawn out affair between NTP and RIM, which ended in 2006 with a mega-million dollar judgment in NTP's favor, or their subsequent fight with Palm that quietly disappeared for unknown reasons a year later.

The late Tom Campana, NTP's founder and the 'inventor' of e-mail certainly does hold several valid patents showing the technology is his, but it will be up to the courts (with millions of our tax dollars) to determine the validity of the newest claims.  Can I haz patent reform plz?  The full press release is after the break. [PRNewswire]

RICHMOND, Va., July 9 /PRNewswire/ — NTP Incorporated, the company founded by Tom Campana, the inventor of wireless email, yesterday filed lawsuits against Apple, Inc., Google Inc., HTC Corp., LG Electronics Inc., Microsoft Corporation, and Motorola, Inc. in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia for infringing NTP’s eight patents related to the delivery of electronic mail over wireless communications systems. Each of the defendants is a manufacturer or developer of either wireless handheld devices or software applications used in the delivery of email across wireless communications systems.

Donald E. Stout, NTP’s co-founder, said, “Use of NTP’s intellectual property without a license is just plain unfair to NTP and its licensees. Unfortunately, litigation is our only means of ensuring the inventor of the fundamental technology on which wireless email is based, Tom Campana, and NTP shareholders are recognized, and are fairly and reasonably compensated for their innovative work and investment. We took the necessary action to protect our intellectual property.”

NTP is best known for its long litigation and eventual settlement with Research in Motion (RIM), maker of BlackBerry® wireless devices. In that litigation, all the claims asserted at trial were found to be valid and willfully infringed by RIM, and the verdict was ultimately affirmed on appeal by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Spurred by that litigation, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) moved to re-examine NTP’s patents. In December 2009, in spite of the massive effort by the USPTO to overturn NTP’s patents, the USPTO Board of Patent Appeals (USPTO Board) ruled that 67 of NTP’s patent claims in four patents are valid, including three claims that RIM was found to have infringed. Infringement of a single claim is all that is needed for a patent to be deemed violated.

NTP has also filed an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to overturn the USPTO’s remaining rejections of NTP’s patent claims.

“The filing of suit today is necessary to ensure that those companies who are infringing NTP’s patents will be required to pay a licensing fee,” Mr. Stout continued. “In view of the USPTO Board’s ruling, the debate over whether Mr. Campana was an originator in the field of wireless email is over. No patents in U.S. history have received as much scrutiny as NTP’s patents. We are delighted that the USPTO Board has recognized the groundbreaking innovation of Mr. Campana by confirming 67 of NTP’s patent claims. We are also confident that the USPTO’s rejections, which are on appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, will be overturned.”

About NTP Incorporated

NTP Incorporated is a privately-held intellectual property firm based in Richmond, Virginia that was founded in 1992 by the late inventor Thomas Campana, Jr. and his partners. NTP’s intellectual property includes patents relating to technologies involving wireless email which Mr. Campana developed as lead inventor in 1990. Mr. Campana was awarded over 50 patents in his career and invented a wireless location technology that helps parents find their children which received first prize at the 1996 Consumer Electronics Show. NTP has licensing agreements with Research in Motion Limited, Good Technology, Inc., Nokia Inc., and Visto Corporation.



Reader comments

NTP sues Google, HTC, Motorola, and everyone else in latest infringment suit


Intellectual property legislation is so far behind... the information age has totally changed the game. The scary part, however, is that I don't know what would be worse: keeping the laws as they are today, or having the members of our government, who are so disconnected and uneducated about technology, to actually attempt to rewrite them? They'd probably end up going backwards somehow.

Well we all know that anytime big companies take a hit, they generously pass it right down to us, the customer. Eventually, we will pay for this in one way shape or form.
They already are into our tax dollars for the court process. Oh the joy!
If the claims are valid, so be it. We however will still have to pay somehow.......

Read the story again:

"In December 2009, in spite of the massive effort by the USPTO to overturn NTP’s patents, the USPTO Board of Patent Appeals (USPTO Board) ruled that 67 of NTP’s patent claims in four patents are valid, including three claims that RIM was found to have infringed."

I understand the companies standpoint but when email is so widely used its ludicrous to be asking for license on this sort of thing. It's like if someone held a patent for envelopes before we had email.

"Inventor of wireless e-mail"? Really? I really question that. Didn't the government invent the internet? I question if this Thomas Campana, Jr. really invented wireless email. Sounds like a pretty epic and strong invention claim. How come we've never heard of this guy before until now? Sure NTP sued RIM back in 2006 and I even questioned that case. I could really go on but I'm willing to be Thomas Campana and NTP didn't invent wireless e-mail. You can't invent that, it's just a way to sent e-mail over the airwaves. Might as well sue all internet service providers who provide wireless internet and companies like Linksys who make wireless routers that send e-mail. Doesn't make sense.

Anyway, RIM invented push email and has patents for it, correct? How did they lose the 2006 lawsuit. Either NTP has some serious trademarks in detail about what they allegedly invented or they have good lawyers. Because the courts and government know nothing about technology so I don't expect them to render a fair verdict when it comes to today's modern tech litigations. Good luck to NTP suing multiple HUGE tech companies like Google, Apple, HTC, etc. Cause you won't win this case in any short period of time and without fighting. Heck the so called inventor is dead anyway. There goes a lot of your defense.

I think these patents should have a window, wherein a finished product/process need be produced and operational in the manner described. The application should be held confidential by the Patent Office.
If an applicant can achieve this, a formalized permanent patent will be granted.
If nothing is submitted by the deadline no patent will be issued and the information contained in the original application should be destroyed.
Or, we can let Steve Jobs keep patenting "processes" involving ergonomic interactions with all manner of matter.

BTW, I hold the patent for removing fecal matter, by grasping disposable material with either hand and repeatedly gesturing in a upward sweeping motion.
Scott Tissue better be glad there aren't any instructions on their wrapper.

So you patents something, you notice someone is infringing those patents but you do nothing for ten years after which you then sue them claiming they've been infringing my patents for the last ten years. If you were that concerned about it and not just after money you'd sue them straight away. Personally I think that if you don't start proceedings within 6 months of finding out then you are in effect allowing those people to infringe your patents and waive the right to sue them.