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

  1. 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...

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)

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

Introducing the new Techdirt Insider Chat, now hosted on Discord. If you are an Insider with a membership that includes the chat feature and have not yet been invited to join us on Discord, please reach out here.

Recent Stories

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

Email This

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