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Patent firm tackles six mobile manufacturers

Patent firm tackles six mobile manufacturers

NTP, a firm which owns patents covering various mobile technologies, has brought legal action against a total of six different hardware and software providers in the industry.

Manufacturers LG, Motorola, HTC and Apple are all being sued, together with software firms Google and Microsoft. NTP has already successfully sued one smartphone firm, with over £400 million paid out by Research in Motion (RIM) over patent infringements relating to its BlackBerry range.

It has been four years since RIM was relieved of a sizeable chunk of income and NTP is now said to be less able to harvest such substantial figures thanks to new legal regulations.

None of the smartphone manufacturers have commented on the lawsuit, which was filed in the US last week.

Inventor Thomas Campana, who died six years ago, formed NTP with lawyer Don Stout and after it triumphed over RIM a great deal of scrutiny was focused on its patents, with the result being that other lawsuits it was spearheading were stopped.

Mr Stout stated: "Now we have to move forward. We hope we can resolve these cases without having to go to trial."

When NTP took on RIM it could have forced the Canadian firm to cease selling BlackBerry smartphones as well as putting a stop to its push email service. This was a hefty bargaining chip and it helped NTP, which does not actually sell any goods itself, to make a killing in court.

Shortly after the £400 million settlement, the US Supreme Court made it difficult for firms such as NTP to get trade injunctions against those that they sue so as to reduce the effectiveness of any patent infringement campaign.

NTP's patents will only be enforceable until 2012, which means any royalties deal will be short lived, although it can claim royalties for devices sold over the past six years, which from any one of the six firms it is confronting may represent a sizable sum.

Category: News
Tagged: industry news

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