RIM Settlement Doesnt End NTPs Patent Battles

NTP has settled its wireless e-mail push patent disputes with Research In Motion and Good Technology, but the licensing battle is far from over.

NTP Inc. has settled its wireless e-mail push patent disputes with Research In Motion Ltd. and Good Technology Inc., but that doesnt mean the licensing battle is over.

NTP is in discussions with several other wireless e-mail push players, according to attorneys for the Arlington, Va., patent holding company.

"We are in discussions with several companies," said NTP attorney Donald Stout, with Antonelli, Terry, Stout & Kraus LLP, also in Arlington. Stout declined to name those companies.

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RIM, the Waterloo, Ontario, maker of the popular BlackBerry devices and enterprise server software, earlier this month said it will pay NTP $450 million to settle its patent disputes, while RIM rival Good Technology, of Santa Clara, Calif., struck a patent deal with NTP the week before that.

Phone giant Nokia Corp., in Espoo, Finland, also entered into a patent deal with NTP last year before bringing its BlackBerry-enabled handsets to market.

Some wireless e-mail push providers claim their technologies dont fall under NTPs patents. Seven Networks Inc. and JP Mobile Inc., for example, claim the patents dont apply to them because they dont use the same "store and forward" architecture that RIM and Good use, which requires an off-site NOC (network operations center), or third-party storage center, where messages are forwarded as they wait to be delivered, said Seven and JP Mobile officials.

NTP attorney Donald Stout said that NTPs patents are "broader in scope than an architecture that has a NOC."

"Anybody who dismisses the claims of the patents outright does not have a clear understanding of the broad spectrum of NTPs patents," said Brian Bogosian, CEO of Visto Inc., in Redwood City, Calif., which also provides e-mail push technologies. Bogosian declined to comment, however, on any ongoing patent discussions.

Meanwhile, Verizon Wireless, of Bedminster, N.J., will soon launch a behind-the-firewall push wireless e-mail access service based on software from Intellisync Corp., said a company official. Microsoft Corp., in Redmond, Wash., is reportedly getting into the wireless e-mail push space, too, with the upcoming version of its Exchange server, according to sources familiar with the plans.

Senior Editor Carmen Nobel contributed to this story.

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