Ina Fried

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NTP Inks Patent Pact With Apple, Google, AT&T and, Well, Most of the Mobile Industry

Patent licensing company NTP, best known for a big settlement with Research In Motion, has reached a deal with most of the rest of the wireless industry.

NTP said Monday it “has reached a mutual resolution with 13 companies,” including all four major U.S. cell phone carriers; device makers including Apple, HTC, Motorola, Samsung and LG; as well as Google, Microsoft and Yahoo. NTP sued the carriers in 2007 and and filed more suits in 2010.

Details on the pact are fuzzy, with a press release from NTP not even saying that the company is getting money, let alone how much. NTP got more than $600 million from RIM after a protracted legal battle.

NTP’s outside lawyer, Ron Epstein, told AllThingsD that his client was compensated but didn’t offer any details on the amount the company received.

“NTP was happy with the outcome,” said Epstein, who heads Redwood City, Calif.-based Epicenter IP Group. The deal, NTP said, provides broad coverage for all parties to NTP’s patents, including eight related to wireless delivery of email. NTP’s suits, which had been on hold, have now been dismissed.

With the pact — and past deals with Nokia and RIM — NTP has now reached licensing agreements with most of the wireless industry, though there are still a few firms Epstein says the company is approaching about licenses.

What’s unique about the deal, Epstein said, was the fact that NTP managed to get all of the parties to come together and work out a single settlement. That, he said, was a first in his 20 years of practicing patent law.

“We believe this is potentially a new model for how these significant patent portfolios might be licensed,” Epstein said.


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