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National carriers sued over e-mail patents

updated 04:40 pm EDT, Tue September 11, 2007

National carriers sued

The three largest phone carriers in the US, AT&T, Verizon and Sprint, are together facing a lawsuit over their e-mail services. A licensing company by the name of NTP is accusing the trio of violating eight different patents; in return, NTP is asking for royalties based on device sales. Certain phones by Nokia and Good Technology (acquired by Motorola) are exempt under earlier agreements.

The suit echoes an earlier one against Research in Motion, makers of the BlackBerry, who also have a self-run mail service. That case was settled for $612.5 million, one of largest patent resolutions in history.

The new case comes from a position of jeopardy for NTP, however, as the US Patent and Trademark Office has issued rejections for its patents, meaning that they are only valid so long as an NTP appeal is active. For that very reason, a suit against smartphone maker Palm was placed on hold in March, pending the outcome of the USPTO decision. [via The Globe and Mail]

by MacNN Staff




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