NTP Now The Target Of Get-Rich-Without-Doing-Anything Strategy It Made Famous

from the ah,-money dept

You know how when someone comes into sudden wealth, such as by winning the lottery, you often hear stories about lawsuits from others who claim they're actually owed some of that money for some reason or another? Well, following the RIM/NTP settlement that netted the lawyers involved hundreds of millions of dollars for patents that have been declared invalid, it seems that there's now a bit of a squabble over the money. Donald Stout, a lawyer who was part owner of the patent is now being sued for a part of the winnings by various different people who all want a piece of the pie. The main complaint seems to be from the heirs of the founder and former CEO of Telefind, the company Thomas Campana (who was Stout's partner in NTP) worked for when the patents were filed. However, the battle over ownership of the patents seems to have been hashed out in the past. Telefind went bankrupt and a creditor took over control of the assets. During that period there was some argument over who owned the patents, and the court determined that the main wireless patents in question had been developed outside of Telefind -- using a letter from Telefind's CEO to Campana asking to license the patent as proof. Remember, also, that the creditor who took over Telefind has already sued claiming that the patents should have been included in the assets he got to take over. The courts already ruled against that attempt at taking over the patents, and it seems likely that this new attempt won't go very far either. Still, it seems as though Telefind's CEO's heirs are arguing that Stout was dishonest in his dealings earlier, seeing as he was both Telefind's patent lawyer and Campana's... and also how with all the squabbling over the patents, he was the one who actually ended up owning a piece of them. However, it's quite a situation when you step back and look at things. You have a bunch of people who have absolutely nothing to do with the success of wireless email in the marketplace all fighting over $600 million squeezed out of the company who did the actual innovation for a bunch of patents that have been declared invalid. And people say the patent system doesn't need fixing.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    DittoBox, 23 Aug 2006 @ 1:02pm

    You know what they say...

    Easy Come, Easy Go.

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

  • identicon
    Jon Gales, 23 Aug 2006 @ 1:48pm

    Hard to feel sorry for him

    The family's case seems like a longshot, but so did milking $600 million out of RIM off of infringement of shoddy patents that were rejected by the USPTO after further review. Sort of fitting that he's getting put in the hot seat now. I'm sure the money is in a safe offshore account now anyway.

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

  • identicon
    Jersey204, 23 Aug 2006 @ 1:48pm

    Bloodsuckers...

    These people should be forced into doing manual labor.

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

  • icon
    Ron (profile), 23 Aug 2006 @ 2:01pm

    Get Back

    If RIM paid money for violating patents that were later declared invalid, then doesn't the court order that forced the payment then become invalid (after all, why should you pay money for something when the person that wants the money doesn't own the thing in the first place)? And, if RIM paid big bucks for something that really does not even exist then shouldn't the recipient of those funds be forced to return them, with interest, and covering all the associated court costs? Hmmm, maybe even charge NTP with fraud or extortion.
    Something is really wrong with the system. Part of it is that NTP was not even considerate enough to bring the Vaseline.

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

    • icon
      Mike (profile), 23 Aug 2006 @ 2:04pm

      Re: Get Back

      If RIM paid money for violating patents that were later declared invalid, then doesn't the court order that forced the payment then become invalid (after all, why should you pay money for something when the person that wants the money doesn't own the thing in the first place)?

      No. The payment was a settlement that was put in place after the court pressured both sides to settle the case before the judge simply would shut down RIM's network.

      And, part of that settlement included language claiming that there would be no return of money if the patents were found invalid.

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

      • identicon
        Joe Smith, 24 Aug 2006 @ 12:45pm

        Re: Re: Get Back

        "The payment was a settlement that was put in place after the court pressured both sides to settle the case"

        I read the transcript of the final court hearing - it looked to me like the only person the Judge was pressuring was RIM. If the patents are finally struck down, that judge should resign or be removed in disgrace for his conduct in that hearing.

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

  • identicon
    Dan, 23 Aug 2006 @ 2:03pm

    They're rich, who cares?

    They're rich, let them fight over it.

    Doesn't affect me in the least...

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

  • identicon
    Sanguine Dream, 23 Aug 2006 @ 2:21pm

    I knew it!

    I should have sued the creators of One Piece! I wrote a story years ago about a boy that wanted to become the greatest pirate ever. But instead of eating fruit the rendered him unable to swim he was just afraid of water. In all honesty I didn't but I should sue anyway because someone needs to think of the children.

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

  • identicon
    Ted Andros, 10 Jan 2007 @ 8:54am

    NTP/RIM Patent Infringment

    To add miscarriage of justice, the litigation that awarded the patents to Campana and Stout resulted as the result of fraud perpetrated by the Telefind CEO, Campana and Stout who conspired to deny ownership of the patents to the real owner, Telefind. The confirmation of the ownership provided by the Telefind CEO was a lie. He did that to help Campana and Stout illegarly gain ownership of the patents. He was to remain a silent partner of the patents and share in the rewards (or use of the patents). He died befor the settlement with RIM and his heirs are rightfully seeking his share of the proceeds. I know, I was the Exec. VP of the company. There is yet another litigation pending by an engineer claiming that he wrote part of the patents and should have been included in the ownership and should be entitled to part of the proceeds.

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Advertisment

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Discord

The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...

Loading...
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.