Stay Tuned For The Next Episode Of 'As The Invalid NTP Patents Turns...'
from the ntp-soap-opera dept
In the meantime, however, the greed around these bogus patents continues to drag in lots of others trying to make a quick buck. You may recall (or perhaps not) that during the RIM-NTP case, another company called CLI showed up claiming that NTP didn't really own the patents it claimed to own, and that they were really CLI's. You see, (follow this carefully) the patents in question were created based on work originally done for Telefind. Telefind had leased equipment from a company named CLI. Telefind eventually went broke, defaulting on the lease. CLI claimed that the terms of the lease required the patents be handed over to CLI. Instead, the guy who originally wrote the technology, Thomas Campana, shifted the patents to a separate entity he created called ESA, which eventually handed the patents over to a new firm NTP (which was basically Campana and a lawyer, who specifically did nothing until they realized they could use these patents for lawsuit shakedowns). Got all that? The courts eventually found that CLI's claim on the patents were a bunch of bunk, but it appears CLI isn't the only one who wants this particular set of immensely valuable invalid patents.
Ben S writes in to point out that a former employee of Telefind claims that he really invented wireless email, and then secretly (yes, secretly) went to work for Campana at ESA to create the necessary software (which, by the way, never actually worked -- which is a whole different idiotic discussion). Thus, he claims that at least part of the patent belongs to him, despite the fact that he wasn't named on the patent at all. So, to sum it all up, we've got a group of seven highly disputed patents that the Patent Office admits were granted in error, which cover both broad and obvious areas of research that had well known prior art, and for which the technology never worked. Those patents, then have been shuffled from company to company until they got to a bunch of lawyers who sued a company that entirely independently made the technology work and made it useful (i.e., did the actual innovation), and then held them hostage until their shareholders forced them to cough up over half a billion dollars -- and now that they're trying to do it again (even as the Patent Office continues to say the patents aren't valid), someone else is now saying that he was the real inventor of the non-working technology on the invalid patents -- and therefore, he deserves a piece of the multi-million dollar pie. Who says our patent system needs fixing?