On Friday July 9, 2010, NTP Inc. filed patent infringement suits against six major smartphone companies. NTP is suing Apple, Google, HTC, LG Electronics, Microsoft, and Motorola over eight NTP Inc. patents which relate to wireless e-mail delivery. NTP is a patent holding company or also known as a “non-practicing entity.” A non-practicing entity does not practice the patented technology but instead makes money from licensing the technology and damages from infringement suits. A co-founder at NTP , Donald Stout, stated that “[t]he 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.” The NTP patents expire in 2012.
NTP may be remembered for their lawsuit in 2000 against the Blackberry manufacturer, Research in Motion (RIM). RIM settled the case in 2006 and paid a reported $613 million to NTP. In return, RIM now has a license to practice NTP’s patented technology. In 2007, NTP sued AT&T, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless for similar patent infringement which are still pending in the courts.
Microsoft and Google do not manufacture smartphones but do make operating systems for smartphones. Donald Stout stated that the “[u]se of NTP’s intellectual property without a license is just plain unfair to NTP and its licensees.” The defendant companies have yet to comment about the suit.