Patent outfit sues smartphone makers

Patent-holding company NTP has filed an infringement suit against Apple, Google, Microsoft, HTC, LG Electronics and Motorola over email technology these firms use in the smartphones they make.

NTP managed to squeeze a $612.5 million settlement out of Blackberry maker Rim in 2006 over the same patents so now it's giving Rim's rivals a taste of the same medicine.

“Use of NTP's intellectual property without a licence is just plain unfair to NTP and its licensees,” complained co-founder Donald E Stout in a statement. “Unfortunately, litigation is our only means of ensuring the inventor of the fundamental technology on which wireless email is based, Tom Campana, and NTP shareholders are recognised, and are fairly and reasonably compensated for their innovative work and investment. We took the necessary action to protect our intellectual property.”

NTP holds a portfolio of over 60 US patents, with others pending. Not that it makes anything that makes use of these, mind. It prefers to send in the lawyers if it gets the idea that someone else may be using a technology it might have a patent on, without asking it first.

Some people have been know to call such companies trolls. Maybe they hang out under bridges.