NTP Sues Apple, Google, Microsoft and Others Over Wireless Email
NTP, the holding company that used its wireless email patents to squeeze a $612.5 million settlement out of Research in Motion via an excruciating intellectual property battle, is back again, this time to shake down six of RIM’s competitors.
On Friday NTP filed patent infringement lawsuits against Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG), HTC, LG Electronics, Microsoft (MSFT) and Motorola (MOT) claiming–just as it did in the suit that nearly shut down RIM’s BlackBerry service–that their mobile wireless email devices infringe upon its technology. The suit asks that the companies be prevented from selling and operating such products and slapped with punitive damages (see document below).
“Use of NTP’s intellectual property without a license is just plain unfair to NTP and its licensees,” NTP co-founder Donald Stout said in a statement. “We took the necessary action to protect our intellectual property.”
And wring every last bit of value out of it. NTP’s key patents expire in 2012, so this really seems a last-ditch attempt to use them to win one last big payday.
And if it does, the big names in the smartphone industry could find themselves in the same unpleasant position RIM (RIMM) Chairman and co-Chief Executive Jim Balsillie found himself in back in 2006.
“It’s a lot of money for patents that will not survive, for sure, but that doesn’t do us any good if there’s a court that doesn’t wait,” Balsillie said after agreeing to a $612.5 million settlement with NTP. “No question, we took one for the team here. It wasn’t a good feeling to write this kind of check.”
[Image credit: Bob MacNeil / WIPO Magazine]