updated 03:15 pm EDT, Mon August 1, 2011
NTP gets USPTO review of patents in key cases
Patent licensing house NTP on Monday won a ruling (below) that would give it a chance at continuing its wireless e-mail patent lawsuits against several major companies. The Washington, DC Federal Court of Appeals said the US Patent and Trademark Office should review the validity of seven of the eight patents in the cases, which targeted Apple, Google, Microsoft, and major US carriers, among others. Officials decided that interpretations might be too broad.
One patent was still rejected outright as prior art had been developed by RIM's Mike Lazaridis.
A reexamination doesn't necessarily seal a win for NTP as it can still lose if the USPTO upholds its original interpretation of the patents or comes to the same conclusion. NTP would at least buy time, however, as the remaining seven patents will still be active during any trial and increase the damages until the respective court reaches a verdict.
NTP successfully sued RIM in 2001 over BlackBerry e-mail and got a one-time $612.5 million settlement in 2006. The firm used its win as a launchpad for more lawsuits in the belief it inherently owned the rights to common approaches to using e-mail from mobile devices. [via Bloomberg]