Smartphone Makers Sued for Patent Infringement

A relatively unknown specialist in wireless e-mail, NTP, emerged with eight patent infringement claims Friday. The claims called out brand name leaders in smartphone technology, including Google, Apple and Microsoft, on their e-mail systems for wireless communications such as cell phones.

NTP wants remuneration for the use of their product. NTP holds that wireless e-mail patents were awarded to its co-founder, Thomas Campana, the inventor of wireless e-mail, and they are seeking damages.

In 2006, NTP won a similar suit regarding wireless e-mail with the BlackBerry manufacturer, Research in Motion (RIM). NTP said in its statement: "The USPTO Board of Patent Appeals ruled that 67 of NTP's patent claims in four patents are valid, including three claims that RIM was found to have infringed."

"Use of NTP's intellectual property without a license is just plain unfair to NTP and its licensees," company co-founder Donald E. Stout said in a statement.

The twist is that NTP doesn't actually manufacture any products. It merely specializes in wireless e-mail technology. Some critics are calling the company a "patent troll," claiming it wants to cash in on a product it has no intention of manufacturing.

Read more about NTP's patent suit against smartphone manufacturers.

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