NTP, Inc. Virginia-based patent-holding company that became famous for successfully squeezing $612.5 million from Blackberry maker Research In Motion (RIM) over email technology patents, has sued six of the world's leading smartphones makers for infringing the same patents.
Privately-held NTP, with a portfolio of around 50 patents, filed patent infringement lawsuits on Thursday in the US District Court in Richmond, Virginia, against Apple, Microsoft, Google, Motorola, HTC and LG Electronics alleging that these companies were illegally using over eight of its patents on wireless email system.
Email has now become an essential feature in smartphones, a wireless device that mimics mini computers and has features ranging from web surfing to games.
While Nokia is still the leader in the smartphones market, Apple with its iPhone is cornering a large chunk of this segment while Google is trying to make its presence felt as more smartphone makers have started using its Android operating system for their smartphones.
Although NTP holds patents, it does not manufacture any products, but licenses its patents to technology companies and uses aggressive legal tactics to intimidate those that use its patents without paying license fees.
Its biggest success came in 2006 when it managed to get a one time out-of-court settlement of $612.5 million from RIM for infringing the same patents that it is now suing the six smartphone makers.