Trio of cellcos facing mobile e-mail suit

12 Sep 2007

The three largest US cellcos are facing legal action for alleged violations of patents relating to mobile e-mail services. Technology licensing firm NTP Inc claims that wireless e-mail services offered by AT&T Inc, Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel infringe eight of its patents. NTP is seeking royalty payments based on the number of handsets sold, though devices manufactured by Nokia and Good Technology (part of Motorola) are not covered by the action since NTP has signed separate licensing agreements with these firms. None of the three cellcos have commented on the case.

NTP has previously sued Research In Motion (RIM), the Canadian firm which developed the BlackBerry wireless internet and e-mail device. That case ended in March 2006 when RIM agreed to pay a USD612.5 million settlement. The US Patent and Trademark office has issued notices rejecting NTP’s e-mail patents, though NTP has appealed the decision. In the meantime, its patents are still valid, Bloomberg reports.