NTP Wants To Take Even More Money Away From Actual Innovators

from the just-great dept

Apparently, the $612.5 million that patent holding firm NTP got out of RIM for its questionable patents wasn't enough. The company (really, a group of lawyers) has filed a lawsuit against Palm as well. Apparently, the firm is claiming patent violations on the same five patents it used against RIM, as well as two additional ones. However, considering that the US Patent Office has given final rejections to two of the patents in the RIM case and indicated it's likely to reject the rest, it would seem like NTP doesn't have much of a leg to stand on. It's unclear what the other two patents are, though they could be from some new deals NTP has cooked up to get its hands on more patents for the sole purpose of squeezing money out of companies. As for the rejected patents, NTP has indicated that it will appeal the patent rejections -- so perhaps they hope to cause enough trouble for Palm while they drag out the process that it's forced to settle as well.

This is a horrible misuse of the patent system, and is simply taking hundreds of millions of dollars away from what should be a developing market and putting it in the hands of a bunch of greedy lawyers who have done nothing to help move the technology forward in the market place. If you don't recall, NTP was a holding company that owned some disputed exceptionally broad patents on a concept that was basically "wireless email." An earlier company had tried to do something with the patents, but failed in the marketplace. RIM came along and successfully innovated in the marketplace (while being a bit of a patent menace itself), and suddenly NTP claimed that no one could do wireless email without paying them for the privilege. The patents were incredibly broad and perfectly obvious and never should have been granted (something the USPTO later would admit in rejecting them). Yet, due to the increasing uncertainty over the lawsuit, and the pressure that put on RIM's stock, the company was forced to settle, taking money away from R&D efforts and sales and handing it over to the lawyers at NTP so they could turn around and sue more companies that were actually successfully innovating and building products and services people wanted.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Chris, Nov 6th, 2006 @ 2:45pm

    Patents

    Sick, isn't it? Wrote about some other patents also: http://ten23.typepad.com/ten23_software/2006/11/ibm_and_toilets.html

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Beefcake, Nov 6th, 2006 @ 3:07pm

    Underpants Gnomes Step 2 Revealed!

    1. Steal underpants
    2. Sue everyone for patent and/or trademark infringement
    3. Profit!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Sam, Nov 6th, 2006 @ 5:40pm

    is it possible to sue to the USPTO for gross negligence? or at least to invalidate their grant of patent?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Joe Smith, Nov 6th, 2006 @ 9:19pm

    Consequences

    If they lose this patent suit the lawyers who own NTP and the lawyers who represent NTP should have to pay personally for the $120 Million in market cap Palm shareholders lost today.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    sceptic, Nov 6th, 2006 @ 11:47pm

    Re: Consequences

    In pounds of flesh.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Sohrab, Nov 7th, 2006 @ 1:26am

    yea, this Pattent issue is getting out of hand. Like Mike said, the millions could be going towards R&D, not freaking lawsuits. Its new low as always for us.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Sanguine Dream, Nov 7th, 2006 @ 5:31am

    Afraid to innovate...

    I bet there are plenty of companies and small startups that are literally afraid to try something new for fear that it falls under the broad patent of some "company" that does nothing but hoard patents. It would seem to me that the first thing a "company" has to do when filing a patent infringment suit is to prove that are ACTUALLY MAKING USE OF THE PATENT. There have been plenty of stories in which a company that is suing for patent infringment is literally nothing more than a small group of people with an expensive team of lawyers. No product. No service. No business model. This nonsense has to end.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Joe Smith, Nov 7th, 2006 @ 5:08pm

    There have been plenty of stories in which a company that is suing for patent infringment is literally nothing more than a small group of people with an expensive team of lawyers. No product. No service. No business model.

    I don't care so much about the fact that the companies have no products what I care about is the fact that people are getting patents for ideas that were obvious in the sense that someone was bound to invent them within a short period of time whether there was a patent system or not. Those patents do nothing to promote advance of the useful arts and sciences and should not be allowed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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