Yesterday afternoon, NTP filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Palm, Inc. alleging that this company is infringing on NTP patents related to mobile devices wirelessly exchanging email.
NTP says that it asked Palm to license its patents before filing its lawsuit, and would still prefer to go that route. A similar lawsuit brought by NTP against RIM resulted in that company paying $600 million in licensing fees.
Palm, however, seems more interested in fighting the lawsuit than negotiating a settlement. It has released the following statement:
The NTP lawsuit claims that certain Palm products infringe seven NTP patents. All seven of the patents asserted are being re-examined by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) and have been rejected by the re-examiners as invalid. Palm also noted that the NTP patents disclose a pager-based email service that has nothing in common with the mobile-computing devices invented by Palm.
Palm has been in occasional contact with NTP concerning a license to these patents. When Palm last communicated with NTP many months ago, however, each of the patents already was the subject of re-examination proceedings by the PTO. Palm is disappointed that, after many months of silence and repeated rejections of NTP's claims by the PTO, NTP has chosen to sue on patents of doubtful validity.
Palm respects legitimate intellectual property rights, but will defend itself vigorously against the attempted misuse of the patent and judicial systems to extract monetary value for rights to patents that may ultimately have no value at all.
Numerous reactions to this lawsuit from Brighthand readers can be found in the forums.
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