Remember NTP? The tiny company with a portfolio of patents on wireless email technology that wrung a $612 million settlement out of RIM in 2006 after years of litigation? Well, get ready to fall in love all over again, because the company just sued Apple, Google, Microsoft, HTC, LG, and Motorola for the same thing. Given the company's protracted history defending its patent portfolio -- the RIM case alone took nearly five years and ultimately involved USPTO re-examining several patents, rejecting some and then ultimately declaring some others valid in 2009 -- we can't see any of this ending quickly or easily, especially with such formidable adversaries aligned as defendants. In particular, we'd note that Apple and Microsoft have a long history of cooperation and cross-licensing in the patent space, so we're sure their lawyers are ready to party down in lawsuit town, and adding Google, Motorola, HTC, and LG to the mix isn't going to make any of this easier for NTP. We'll see what happens -- this one's going to be long and messy. PR after the break.

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NTP Sues Apple, Google, HTC, LG, Microsoft and Motorola for Infringement of Wireless Email Patents

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.

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NTP awakes, sues Apple, Microsoft, Google, HTC, LG, and Motorola over wireless email patents