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NTP Sues Six Major Tech Companies Over Wireless Email Patents 197

Posted by Soulskill
from the going-for-the-gusto dept.
rgraham writes "NTP, the same company that sued and eventually settled with RIM for $612.5 million over an IP dispute, has now sued Apple, Google, HTC, LG, Microsoft and Motorola for infringement of wireless email patents. In the press release, NTP co-founder Donald Stout 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.'"
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NTP Sues Six Major Tech Companies Over Wireless Email Patents

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  • by SilverHatHacker (1381259) on Friday July 09, 2010 @03:20PM (#32854592)

    inventor of the fundamental technology on which wireless email is based

    Really? Which technology would that be: wireless or email?

  • by JustinRLynn (831164) on Friday July 09, 2010 @03:20PM (#32854598)
    Step 2: FUD+Lawsuit
  • by DarkKnightRadick (268025) <the_spoon.geo@yahoo.com> on Friday July 09, 2010 @03:22PM (#32854628) Homepage Journal

    So they own SMTP? POP3? IMAP4? sendmail?!

  • Hmmm..... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ducomputergeek (595742) on Friday July 09, 2010 @03:23PM (#32854650)

    First, it seems they forgot to sue Nokia.

    Second, I see six very big companies who suddenly have a reason to work together. The $600M NTP got from RIM is a penitence compared to what these people can afford on legal.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 09, 2010 @03:25PM (#32854680)

    Email is over 20 years old, so there's no way they could patent it. Combining email with IP-over-GSM is simply combining two existing technologies, which isn't patent worthy, so they couldn't have patented that. And, if they had patented something at the transport layer or higher, they wouldn't have called their patents "wireless email patents", they would have called them "wireless networking patents". So, their patents can't possibly be valid. I'd look them up and show exactly why - but they were so ashamed of how much they abused the patent system, that they wouldn't even tell us which patents they are. FTA:

    What are these patents? We can only guess, as the one-page release issued by NTP's public-relations firm does not name them.

  • by mercutioviz (1350573) on Friday July 09, 2010 @03:30PM (#32854746)
    DarkKnightRadick is correct: there's nothing "fundamental" that can be "owned" (as in property) in all this. You can't patent abstract concepts. Unless the patent describes a very specific process that is both non-obvious to someone skilled in the art and is not already revealed in other prior art/pre-existing technologies then this is totally bogus. I know I used the word "if" in the previous sentence, but I think we all know that there's no if about it: NTP are patent-trolling douchebags.
  • by blackdragon07 (1357701) on Friday July 09, 2010 @03:34PM (#32854800)
    Quick we need to patent an idea so we can sue someone and make money...i hate these damn patent trolls... Open Source all the way then anyone using any open source has to publish under that so no more patent trolls or would that make more because they would go after the idea and concept then???
  • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Friday July 09, 2010 @03:38PM (#32854842) Journal

    SYSTEM FOR INTERCONNECTING ELECTRONIC MAIL SYSTEMS BY RF COMMUNICATIONS AND METHOD OF OPERATION THEREOF

    Says the United States Patent Office. Yes, it is as ridiculous as it sounds. I need to start thinking abstractly and patenting anything and everything that will be tried. I mean, touch interfaces are becoming popular. Can I patent the use of multi-touch interfaces and Email clients? Can I patent the use of non-touch hand gestures to operate a computer? What else could I just sit on that will be done eventually...

  • by mcgrew (92797) * on Friday July 09, 2010 @03:39PM (#32854860) Homepage Journal

    There was a Hostory Channel show on the vigilantes. The cause of the vigilatteism was corrupt government and police that were not accountable to anyone and perverted democracy. In the case of our own corporate-run governments these days...

  • by nomorecwrd (1193329) on Friday July 09, 2010 @03:46PM (#32854954)

    I know I used the word "if" in the previous sentence,

    Actually... you didn't

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Friday July 09, 2010 @03:47PM (#32854982) Homepage Journal

    People put peanut butter AND jelly on their bread without paying license fees to me?

    My specific innovation (patent applied for) was to spread the peanut butter on one slice of bread and the jelly on the second slice of bread, then putting them together.

    It's all about the process.

  • by stevew (4845) on Friday July 09, 2010 @03:51PM (#32855022) Journal

    What I don't understand is why Ham Radio Packet communications wouldn't be considered prior art for all of these patents. Hams were sending email through automated gateways to MOBILE stations back in the 80s. Why isn't this adequate prior art?

    In looking at the patent:

    "A system (100) for connecting a plurality of mail systems (1-N) each transmitting information from one of a plurality of originating processors (A-N) to at least one of a plurality of destination processors (A-N) which may be transported during operation in accordance with the invention includes at least one interface switch (304), an interface switch being coupled to each of the plurality of electronic mail systems of receiving information originating from an originating processor in one of the electronic mail systems for transmission to a destination processor in another electronic mail system; and a RF information transmission network (302), coupled to the at least one interface switch, for transmitting stored information received from one of the at least one interface switch originating from an originating processor in one electronic mail system by RF transmission to at least one RF receiver which relays the information to a destination processor within the another electronic mail system. "

    The big difference is that there is an RF link....Ham Packet Radio fits the bill.

  • by CompMD (522020) on Friday July 09, 2010 @04:09PM (#32855248)

    ...because they have a track record of smacking down patent trolls, like today. [bizjournals.com] Maybe some of those companies can toughen up and follow the example.

  • by GooberToo (74388) on Friday July 09, 2010 @04:16PM (#32855344)

    if the combination is new, useful, nonobvious

    And that's the problem. Far, far, too many patents are OBVIOUS technology combinations. Since SMTP is in fact one of the oldest Internet age protocols, its pretty easy to argue any wireless layer capable of transporting SMTP is an obvious implementation. In fact, its easy to argue any generic network layer intended to transport IP, SMTP is an obvious implementation. After all, that's entirely the fucking point of using IP and SMTP!

    Every time these patent trolls pop up with incredibly obvious patents, I can't help but wonder what the fuck is wrong with the idiots working at the USPO. You don't even have to be a wireless expert to look at this patent and realize in less than five minutes its complete bullshit. Whoever granted this patent should be fired and their pension revoked. Furthermore, their children should be brought to public ire and marked by paint balled on a daily basis to ensure their genes are never permitted into the pool. How the fuck anyone this stupid can qualify for the USPO brings into question every patent granted in the last fifty years or so.

    Seriously, what the fuck is wrong with them?

  • Prior art (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Coward Anonymous (110649) on Friday July 09, 2010 @05:17PM (#32855936)

    3Com press release of the Palm VII in October of 1999, two months before this patent was filed. The press release explicitly mentions wireless e-mail. http://investor.palm.com/releasedetail.cfm?releaseid=338689 [palm.com]

    There is probably even earlier prior art as the idea is trivial and was plainly obvious when 3Com released the Palm VII (microwave stations anyone?). This patent also seem to cover any computer using Wifi.

    It was stupid when it was filed and is stupid now.

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