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NTP Sues Palm, Alleging Patent Violation

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the thrilling dept.

121

mikesd81 writes "The Seattle Time reports that NTP is now going after Palm for patent infringement on technology used in their devices. The suit asks the court to bar Palm from continuing to infringe on NTP's patents and seeks monetary damages for the alleged past infringements. At issues are eleven patents, dating from 1995 to 2001, according to the lawsuit. Five of the patents were part of NTP's lawsuit against RIM. The Palm complaint also centers on products, services and systems that integrate e-mail systems with wireless communications, including the Treo, Palm VII, Palm i700 and Tungsten products." You may recall NTP from the just-finished Blackberry case. Good to know they're staying busy.

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121 comments

If you don't manufacture anything... (4, Informative)

pete.com (741064) | more than 7 years ago | (#16750581)

.... you have to make money somehow. Seems NTP's choice is to extort money using the court system.

Re:If you don't manufacture anything... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16750627)

it works for the RIAA.

Re:If you don't manufacture anything... (1)

PresidentKang (846333) | more than 7 years ago | (#16750629)

Yeah...and now there's an unfortunate precedent in NTPs favour showing they can be successful at it.

Quite the business model...

Re:If you don't manufacture anything... (4, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#16751123)

Yeah...and now there's an unfortunate precedent in NTPs favour showing they can be successful at it.

Actually not. While they did settle with Blackberry for a healthy sum, shortly after the settlement agreement, all 7 of NTP's patents were found to be invalid by the USPTO.

Re:If you don't manufacture anything... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16751763)

So? They've got a healthy sum, and can move on to the next set of patents and the next successful company to sue.

Re:If you don't manufacture anything... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16752727)

If that were so (not how I remember it) then RIM should sue the USPTO for damages.

Re:If you don't manufacture anything... (3, Insightful)

pete.com (741064) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752779)

Actually yes...They settled to avoid a protracted court case. Patents being invalid or the entire case being baseless has nothing to do with battling in court, ask IBM. How much do you think IBM has pissed away already fighting the bogus SCO case?

Re:If you don't manufacture anything... (1)

darkchubs (814225) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753303)

I Spend a lot of time studying IP patents and overturn. Most of these Idea patents are literally obvious or old. But that being said; if my company were to be sued by a holder, there is not a chance in hell we could ever settle, or afford a defense. Whats more is that 90% could be overturned but that too takes millions and just about every owner of any website is infringing on countless IP patents. a Prior art example is a common way to halt litigation almost instantly in a scenario where you find yourself being attacked by some outrageous broad or obvious patent. The patents they presently hold are crapola. and they know, you cant patent "email on a wireless device" without halting the entire world... ultimately it will do nothing more than to slow innovation and disable innovation and make lawyers a lot of money.

Publish every Idea you get on the internet. if everyone did that. the foundation for Idea patents would erode even further.

Re:If you don't manufacture anything... (1)

canuck57 (662392) | more than 7 years ago | (#16751245)

you have to make money somehow. Seems NTP's choice is to extort money using the court system.

We all knew it was extortion the first time.

What will truly be interesting is now that it is an American company on the block will the courts descion be any different? The fundimentals are exactly the same. So in theory Palm needs to cough up a lot of cash.

Until of course there is a anti-preditory law to put the NTPs out of business.

Re:If you don't manufacture anything... (1)

smbarbour (893880) | more than 7 years ago | (#16754065)

Here's my proposal for a partial solution law:

Upon the transfer of any patent from one owner to another, any use of said patent that predates the transfer of said patent is ineligible for attempts to collect royalties. Additionally, no patent holder may solicit royalty payments on an infringement of a patent after the infringing product has been available for over 6 months.

Perhaps it should be changed such that patents are non-transferable. With this proposal, we would discourage the formation of patent holding companies as well as reduce the threat of submarine patents.

If no manufacturing, then no patent suits (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16751733)

If you don't manufacture anything... ... then you should be barred from making patent-based lawsuits.

The whole basis of the social contract of patents is to protect your enterprise during manufacturing. If you are not using the patent to manufacture anything, then you are just a parasite working against the very concept of patents and against the community.

But then, everyone knows that lawyers are just parasites anyway. I recommend DDT.

Re:If no manufacturing, then no patent suits (1)

Targon (17348) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752139)

Actually, patents are granted to those who either manufacture or plan to manufacture a product with the proposed "new idea". You don't NEED to have a product to get a patent, but you do need to have a desire to make the product.

So, if a company files a patent, but then doesn't act to turn the idea into a product, the patent should go away.

So, come up with an idea, patent it, and then continue on to manufacture that product, or sell the rights to someone else.

Blockades to Innovation (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 7 years ago | (#16751935)

As per usual, the US patent system is doing a great job of stifling even the most minor innovation.

Email over a non-copper transport. Wow. What an intelligent patent. Using wireless IP networks as they were designed.

My contempt and disgust for what passes for "justice" south of the border knows no bounds. Justice is dead -- long live the court leeches!

Solution: Don't Establish US Offices (2, Interesting)

msobkow (48369) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752003)

I see the solution to the US patent roulette as simple: Don't establish a US office. Force all customers to contract with a head office in a nation that has SANE laws that aren't sold to the highest bidder. Force them to deal with fair courts, and cut them off if they don't abide by agreements.

If necessary, establish offices in a jurisdiction like Germany where innovation and privacy trump companies that have no products.

Re:Solution: Don't Establish US Offices (1)

letxa2000 (215841) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752339)

Heheheh. What a great way to attack the American market: By not expanding into it. :)

Except... (2, Informative)

DeadCatX2 (950953) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753247)

RIM is a Canadian company, and that didn't work for them.

Even if your offices are out of the US, US courts still have the jurisdiction to shut down your operations in the US.

1-2-3-4 (1)

StCredZero (169093) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753257)

It's the new American Way!

1) Patent something
2) Sit on it until someone does something similar
3) Sue!
4) Profit!

Now we know what goes in place of "???"

Yes, this is a repeat! That's actually one of the worst parts -- that this stuff keeps on happening!

Re:1-2-3-4 (1)

pete.com (741064) | more than 7 years ago | (#16755661)

I'm sorry but you violated my patent on replacing puctuation with letters or numbers on a message board... see you in court!

That's why I set my clock manually... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16750619)

Just as I thought... NTP is an evilcompany (tm) that wants to hurt me personally.
Although I have two palms (and two hands, two arms, etc), I don't like the fact that the Network Time Protocol has suddenly gone through the Intarweb tubes to the lawyers and is taking legal action against parts of my body.
What's next? HTTP suing my big toe? Telnet suing my liver? When will it all end?!? Ohh the humanity...

TDz.

eBlackMail (5, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#16750631)

When you pay a blackmailer to leave you alone, even if they do, you've paid them to stay alive long enough to bother someone else.

And when the cops won't stop them, they're unstoppable.

Re:eBlackMail (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 7 years ago | (#16750719)

And when the cops won't stop them, they're unstoppable.
When justice fails, people turn to vigilanteism. I'm surprised that the USPTO hasn't been firebombed long before now.

Re:eBlackMail (2, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#16750833)

Vigilanteism usually reacts in the mode in which it was incited. So I'm not surprised that people in the info biz, like programmers, are so casual about violating these kinds of bonds, like piracy and enthusiasm for open source. What's the patent version of building a gallows? Is it contributing to Linux?

Old Fashioned Business Methods (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16751011)

When justice fails, people turn to vigilanteism. I'm surprised that the USPTO hasn't been firebombed long before now.

Businesses won't take vengeance out on the USPTO. Instead, they'll start doing things the old fashioned way instead... exactly the same way they settled their disputes amongst each other in New York City and in Chicago back in the 1920's and 1930's.

It is all wrong... (1)

catdogven (947172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16750635)

I cant believe this people are going to pursue the same scam again...we`ll if it worked the first time....

Re:It is all wrong... (3, Insightful)

El Torico (732160) | more than 7 years ago | (#16750881)

Yes, it did work the first time and I don't see how anyone could be surprised by this. According to the article, NTP contacted 3Com (Palm's parent company) the same time they contacted RIM. Basically, NTP "annexed the Sudetenland" and RIM appeased them, thus setting a precedent. We all know how well appeasement works to deter aggression now, don't we?

Re:It is all wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16751897)

We all know how well appeasement works to deter aggression now, don't we?

Judging by the situation in Iraq, where a bold stand was taken, appeasement was ruled out completely, and instead the world's best-trained, best-equipped, and basically just utterly overwhelmingly kick-ass powerful armed forces were sent in to stamp out terrorism...

...I'd say appeasement is looking like an increasingly attractive option, really.

Re:It is all wrong... (1)

El Torico (732160) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752561)

Actually, Gulf War 1 is a more accurate analogy than Gulf War 2. However, please note that in both wars Iraq's army was annihilated in weeks.

The current situation is the result of long held animosities in Iraq, interference by Iraq's neighbors, and a lack of planning and good judgement on the part of the soon to be former Secretary of Defense. Winning a war is one thing; nation building is quite another.

Re:It is all wrong... (1)

SillyNickName4me (760022) | more than 7 years ago | (#16754591)

Actually, Gulf War 1 is a more accurate analogy than Gulf War 2.

How so? because the first one is inconclusive and doesn't show the no-appeasement argument wrong?

However, please note that in both wars Iraq's army was annihilated in weeks.

Which was never in doubt, but it does not win you a war. Vietnam already clearly showed this, you can win almost every conventional battle, and yet lose the war.

The current situation is the result of long held animosities in Iraq, interference by Iraq's neighbors, and a lack of planning and good judgement on the part of the soon to be former Secretary of Defense. Winning a war is one thing; nation building is quite another.

Not having thought about what to do after overthrowing Saddam is a big part of this, and that that would go wrong was clear from the start. You are not very likely to gain control over a country that uses its substantial (in size, not in actual fighting power) army for internal control with the kind of small invasion force the USA came up with. Try with at least 800k men and a decent plan.

A decent plan will at the very least provide for:
- dealing with the enemy army so they don't turn into a decentralized fighting force.
- provide security to the population
- provide basic needs (food, water, shelter) to the population
- organize the local population into managable groups not linked to specific political, etnic or religious background

People blame Rumsfeld for this, and since he was in charge of the operation, that seems correct, but honestly, everyone in the current administration who supported this and overlooked that there simply was no workable plan for the adtermatch is equally guilty of neglect here.

NTP (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16750649)

What products does NTP make? I was thinking of performing a boycott of what seems to be an overly-litigious company, but can't find any targets.

Re:NTP (2, Funny)

Ilex (261136) | more than 7 years ago | (#16750699)


What products does NTP make? I was thinking of performing a boycott of what seems to be an overly-litigious company, but can't find any targets.


Sadly their products are lawsuits.

Pity there isn't a way to boycott those :(

Re:NTP (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 7 years ago | (#16750727)

They're an extremely innovative company that produces lawsuits.

Lawsuits, unlike regular suits, are not available for sale, they're given to you like the evil eye. They don't even have the courtesy of being rejectable, and upon offering, proceed to suck every dime it can out of the intended recipients hide. The more innovative the lawsuit, the faster and longer it can suck dimes.

Re:NTP (1)

canuck57 (662392) | more than 7 years ago | (#16751343)

What products does NTP make? I was thinking of performing a boycott of what seems to be an overly-litigious company, but can't find any targets.

Their product is legal extortion. There are no avenues for you or I to boycot them. And since it worked the first time, the investors of NTP are looking for a second big payout. It would take an act of congress, literally to stop them. So write you congress person is the best you can do.

Re:NTP (2, Informative)

asuffield (111848) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753893)

What products does NTP make?


To expand on what others have already said:

NTP is a classic example of a patent troll [wikipedia.org] . They purchase patents from other companies and then sue people for violations of those patents, and try to get people to pay them protection money ("license fees") to leave them alone. At no point do they produce or use anything, so they are completely exempt from "defensive" patents - nobody can countersue NTP for patent violations because NTP do nothing that could violate any patents. Similarly, license clauses that attempt to block people from suing for patent violations are ineffective against them.

Companies like this are a good example of why both "defensive" patents and those license clauses are a total waste of time, accomplishing nothing other than to create new problems.

Only the even ones? (4, Funny)

fitten (521191) | more than 7 years ago | (#16750665)

At issues is even patents, dating from 1995 to 2001, according to the lawsuit.


The even ones? How many is that?

Re:Only the even ones? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16750805)

At issues is even patents, dating from 1995 to 2001, according to the lawsuit.


The even ones? How many is that?
At issues is even patents
At issue are seven patents

I'd say it is about one poorly-editted Slashdot write-up too many.

I am totally shocked! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16750667)

I would never have guessed this of them... Let's face it. NTP is a patent troll. They produce nothing, they have no assets (well except for the money they extort). Why would anybody be suprised about this? Until these bogus patents run their course they will continue to extort more money. The question you have to ask of yourself is this... If you were in the same position and could get lots of money the same way... wouldn't you be doing the same thing? They are not breaking any laws.

Re:I am totally shocked! (1)

bogado (25959) | more than 7 years ago | (#16750855)

The question is why is it possible under the law to have a company that produces nothing and sue all the companies that do produce? This is absurd, patents should not exist at all, but ok let's pretend that they are useful for something, the company that hold the patent should at least have a product (or products) that each of the details in the patent contest.

This is my opinion, patents are road blocks to innovation and even to freedom. As it is today every programmer in the world has already breached at least a few patents in his professional life, having they worked with open source or closed source. Patents work like trading cards to big corporations and like sledge hammers to small companies that dare to enter a market that a big corp does not want them. And now the new patent only company that does not produce anything, so they cannot have broken any patent, and sue every one under the sun.

Uff I hate patents, I think the rant is over now... colling head...

Re:I am totally shocked! (2, Insightful)

k12linux (627320) | more than 7 years ago | (#16750899)

I just want to know how they were harmed that they deserve damages. Was the sales of their non-existent products harmed by sales of Palms?

The patent itself is rediculous and a perfect example of why software patents must go. You have a PC-like device capable of displaying and inputting text. Just how inventive do you have to be to think, "Hey, you could use this for email!" That's patentable??

Re:I am totally shocked! (3, Interesting)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 7 years ago | (#16751087)

This particular company is looking leachlike but the intent of patents is positive. Without them there would be very little incentive to develope new technology. Why spend a 100 million developing a new computer chip when six months from now a competitor can have a knock off on the market and under cut your price because they don't have to repay development costs. It's one of the reasons China has embraced piracy, it saves a bundle. Most of the world is getting tired of it and they are starting to threaten trade sanctions so China is claiming they will stop the piracy. Some industries are abusing the patent system. The worst offenders are actually the drug companies. They aren't happy that patnets actually do run out so once cahs cows go generic they spend tens of millions developing a patentable alternative that maybe less effective but at least they control it and can coerce the doctors into perscribing it so they can go back to charging $10 a pill for something that should sell for $1. Technology we can potentially live without but drugs often mean life or death to people so the drug companies are playing games with people's health just to make an extra buck. What the tech companies are doing is sleazy but what the drug companies are doing is criminal and costs lives to protect profits. Billions of dollars every year goes into finding replacement drugs rather than finding new cures so they money is wasted. Trust me there's far more money going into finding a Viagra replacement for when that patent runs out than is going into an AIDs cure.There's simply more profit in it. 50,000 to 80,000 lives are lost in the US from the flu yet many years there are shortages of the vaccine because it's cheap to manufacture but has some risk so the drug companies don't see it as profitable to make, simply not worth the lawsuits.

Re:I am totally shocked! (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 7 years ago | (#16751291)

So disallow patent rights to those who cannot produce commercial quanitites for sale, or require mandatory precriptive licensing fees, set by the USPTO, for those who do not or cannot produce. Since different patents have different market sizes, set the bar based on end units produced, with fees due on an annual or biannual basis (to allow time for quantities to be determined). Start at $1,000 for single unit quantities, and drop the amount by $5 for every unit produced until you reach $5. After 1000 units, drop the cost to $1, and drop it by $0.01 per extra 1000 units until you hit - and stay at - $0.01 per unit.

If your invention is so great and you want to make money, produce the product yourself. Anybody with a great idea and a bit of VC can get their mousetrap made. Take some risk, you losers.

Re:I am totally shocked! (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753735)

Why spend a 100 million developing a new computer chip when six months from now a competitor can have a knock off on the market and under cut your price because they don't have to repay development costs

Why spend 100 million dollars developing a new computer chip when you can lock up the market for 20 years with your top of the line, state of the art 8086 chip?

Re:I am totally shocked! (1)

SillyNickName4me (760022) | more than 7 years ago | (#16754985)

Without them there would be very little incentive to develope new technology.

Without them, the world saw lots of inventions and technological development for hundreds if not thousands of years.
There is absolutely no evidence that your assertion is true, while there is a lot of evidence suggesting it is false.

Why spend a 100 million developing a new computer chip when six months from now a competitor can have a knock off on the market and under cut your price because they don't have to repay development costs.

Instead of development costs, they will have the cost of reverse engineering. Not as bad, but can be rather substantial depending on the actual technology involved. You also have those months of lead time during which to corner the market. What is more, when people need some variation on the technology, they are much more likely to turn to someone who actually invented it instead of to someone who only demonstrated he is able to clone someone elses work.

It's one of the reasons China has embraced piracy, it saves a bundle.

Rubbish, Chinese tradition explicitly favored sharing of inventions and other interlectual property for centuries before the Chinese revolution. That attitude towards IP just happens to come in handy in todays world, but the reason why it is there is not what you suggest.

Also, when there is no law forbidding it, you cannot talk about 'piracy' (disregarding if calling it piracy is correct, lets just assume for now it is).

Most of the world is getting tired of it and they are starting to threaten trade sanctions so China is claiming they will stop the piracy.

Better said, the USA has been trying to force its strong IP laws onto the rest of the world, and have been very succesfull in some cases, but not yet in case of China, tho things are starting to look a bit 'better'.

Some industries are abusing the patent system. The worst offenders are actually the drug companies. They aren't happy that patnets actually do run out so once cahs cows go generic they spend tens of millions developing a patentable alternative that maybe less effective but at least they control it and can coerce the doctors into perscribing it so they can go back to charging $10 a pill for something that should sell for $1.

That is not abuse of the patent system, that is conspiracy to keep others out of the market. The coercing doctors is the problem here, not drugs companies developing a inferior alternative. Without the coercion this would be pointless to do to begin with.

Technology we can potentially live without but drugs often mean life or death to people so the drug companies are playing games with people's health just to make an extra buck.

Except for the fact that development of modern drugs pretty much depends on modern technology.

What the tech companies are doing is sleazy but what the drug companies are doing is criminal and costs lives to protect profits.

Maybe, but as pointed out, this is not a problem with the patent system, it is a problem of coercion.

Billions of dollars every year goes into finding replacement drugs rather than finding new cures so they money is wasted.

Drugs companies are there to make money, not to save lives. If they do not see it that way, they can be sure to find themselves in court pretty soon due to failing their responsibilities to their shareholders. If you don't like this, I agree, but to change this, you'll have to address the laws dealing with responsibilities to shareholders and maybe allow for the administration to play a role in directing development.

For now however those companies are that, companies that exist to make money.

Trust me there's far more money going into finding a Viagra replacement for when that patent runs out than is going into an AIDs cure.There's simply more profit in it. 50,000 to 80,000 lives are lost in the US from the flu yet many years there are shortages of the vaccine because it's cheap to manufacture but has some risk so the drug companies don't see it as profitable to make, simply not worth the lawsuits.

So the problem here is one of responsibilities. It still has little if anything to do with the patent system.

Sure, without a patent system they would not have this 'monopoly', but their 'generic' competition would not get the blueprints (patented inventions need to be documented) so it would be more difficult to clone.

Dear NTP (2, Insightful)

fnj (64210) | more than 7 years ago | (#16750675)

Dear NTP:

Please eat excrement and die.

Re:Dear NTP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16750795)

Hey, I patented that line!

Now where's my lawyer...

Re:Dear NTP (3, Funny)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 7 years ago | (#16750915)

Can someone point out to the moderator that there is a difference between "insightful" and "inciteful"?

Thanks!

I have a patent on a 4-pronged food-stabber device (1)

t0tAl_mElTd0wN (905880) | more than 7 years ago | (#16750697)

"The Palm complaint also centers on products, services and systems that integrate e-mail systems with wireless communications, including the Treo, Palm VII, Palm i700 and Tungsten products." How is that even possible? Owning a patent for email-via-wireless? Unless I'm mistaken, that's been done since the beginning of wireless.

Re:I have a patent on a 4-pronged food-stabber dev (1)

MerlynDavis (637066) | more than 7 years ago | (#16750723)

The Treo 700w doesn't even use any palm applications to receive mail wirelessly. It uses Microsoft's OS and mail servers in order to push email out.... I love how NTP isn't going after Microsoft...must be being used as a front company for them.

Re:I have a patent on a 4-pronged food-stabber dev (1)

joshetc (955226) | more than 7 years ago | (#16751129)

I dont think they can as microsoft's webservers and e-mail applications are from the "old wired web" NTP is talking about the new, hip, totally different wireless internet. That is a great point though because if that got out everyone would be like "hey, wait.. its the same damn thing with an invisible cord! Fuck NTP!!"

If I beleived in God (1)

C_Kode (102755) | more than 7 years ago | (#16750747)

I would wish everyone that worked for this company would burn in hell. Well, here is hoping for a painful death for all of them anyhow.

NTP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16750761)

Don't let these NTP boobs get you down! Contribute to the pool at the real NTP [ntp.org] and help keep computer clocks accurate across the globe.

Palm is getting bullied. (1)

tcolberg (998885) | more than 7 years ago | (#16750813)

What pisses me off is that Palm isn't that big of a company nor is it the healthiest. If they weren't lucky enough to get Handspring, which gave them a big heads up on the upcoming smartphone market, they might have been crushed by now by the declining PDA market and Microsoft. NTP is just grabbing at every straw it can for money. Why don't they try sueing MS for doing email over wireless? Probably because MS has enough money to slap them back with a legal team worth more than RIM's settlement itself.

Re:Palm is getting bullied. (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#16751067)

Probably because MS has enough money to slap them back with a legal team worth more than RIM's settlement itself.

You got it! They looked at their competitors in the lawsuit-as-business-model industry [sco.com] , saw how well they were doing [groklaw.net] in their lawsuit with a truly deep-pockets company [ibm.com] and opted for a much smaller target.

Microsoft may not have quite the nazgul that IBM has, but they definitely have the pockets and know where to find them.

Re:Palm is getting bullied. (2, Insightful)

eck011219 (851729) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752119)

Indeed. And what really chaps my butt is that a year from now, a Treo is going to cost me $50 more than it otherwise would have because Palm has to figure out how to pay the lawyers they'll need to defend against this silliness. I think a lot of people (not so many here on Slashdot, but people in general) forget about that aspect of the frivolous lawsuit -- no matter who wins or loses, the attorneys get paid. And this creates higher prices, wipes out the companies with tighter margins (but possibly better products), and generally winnows everything down to our products being available only from the companies with the most lawyers (design and product relevance be damned).

I agree, too, with other posters here -- it's a stumper when there's nothing to boycott. It would sure be nice to do something to protest their behavior, but we're down to TP and flaming poop bags on the doorstep -- they don't DO anything (outside of file lawsuits). To paraphrase Say Anything (a good John Cusack movie from 1989) -- they don't buy anything sold or processed, sell anything bought or processed, or process anything bought or sold.

Fighting back (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753343)

Well, there's always the "letter to your congressman" angle, and the "letter to the editor" angle, and the "give money to help Palm hire better lawyers" angle, and the "march in front of NTP's headquarters with a placard" angle, and the "get a job reviewing patents" angle. If you put your mind to it, I'm sure you could come up with some actions to address the situation.

Palm's Response (5, Informative)

Scyber (539694) | more than 7 years ago | (#16750875)

http://investor.palm.com/pressdetail.cfm?ReleaseID =217480 [palm.com]

The NTP lawsuit claims that certain Palm products infringe seven NTP patents. All seven of the patents asserted are being re-examined by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) and have been rejected by the re-examiners as invalid. Palm also noted that the NTP patents disclose a pager-based email service that has nothing in common with the mobile-computing devices invented by Palm. Palm has been in occasional contact with NTP concerning a license to these patents. When Palm last communicated with NTP many months ago, however, each of the patents already was the subject of re-examination proceedings by the PTO. Palm is disappointed that, after many months of silence and repeated rejections of NTP's claims by the PTO, NTP has chosen to sue on patents of doubtful validity. Palm respects legitimate intellectual property rights, but will defend itself vigorously against the attempted misuse of the patent and judicial systems to extract monetary value for rights to patents that may ultimately have no value at all.

Pretty much how I thought things will go... (1)

Hamster Lover (558288) | more than 7 years ago | (#16751243)

I was reading an editorial in a trade magazine at work a few months ago on the RIM patent case with NTP and where things would go now that RIM had settled. The article suggested that NTP's next target would be Palm and then went on to explain their rationale and that NTP had stirred the pot perhaps a bit too much as many of their patents were up for re-examination.

I hope for once that NTP gets their ass handed to them when they have no patents left to assert in court, but that's wishful thinking. The Slashdot legal delusion field has me hoping that Palm can counter sue for tortious interference or whatever the legal term is.

Protection system reached the point of absurd (2, Insightful)

coquelicot (837668) | more than 7 years ago | (#16751045)

Well, another example that the world is reaching new extremes, and US is (usually) the first place for any extreme to occur. SO now it's perfectly normal to make money doing nothing, more: using the system that should provide the protection to the inventors to further encourage the development of new stuff.

Sometimes I really believe that self-destruction (or more often, self-mutilation) is something that people cannot live without.

Re:Protection system reached the point of absurd (1)

Bigbutt (65939) | more than 7 years ago | (#16751815)

See now. With all the jobs being outsourced and offshored, we don't have much more to do that see if we can get patents into the lame Patent Office and sue so we can continue to drive 3mpg Hummers and 10mpg SUV's and live way out in the boonies so we have to drive everywhere.

(FYI, I work from home and drive a 52mpg motorcycle when I have to go somewhere. :) )

[John]

Re:Protection system reached the point of absurd (1)

coquelicot (837668) | more than 7 years ago | (#16754083)

exactly... when sh*t hits the fan in the near future, some people will feel the falling down very harshly... greetz,

Re:Protection system reached the point of absurd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16752751)

making money doing nothing isn't new.....what do you think interest accruing bank accounts are? bonds?

Great, Another Lawsuit (4, Funny)

CrankyFool (680025) | more than 7 years ago | (#16751157)

I hope the judge doesn't give them the time of day!

Re:Great, Another Lawsuit (1)

anagama (611277) | more than 7 years ago | (#16751679)

hilarious. The first NTP joke worthy of moderation and sadly, I have no points.

Worthy of a patent ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16751201)

What I dont understand is that most of these "inventions" are so obvious things that don't really deserve a patent. Email over wireless technology ? What's so ingenious about it to warrent giving a patent ? Its only too obvious that one day email will use wireless technology once it becomes cheap and reliable enough. These patents only stifle the advancement of technology and instead of helping it develop.

Lawyers are responsible for this crap. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16751235)

Kick a lawyer today. Spit on him. There's no such thing as an ethical lawyer.

Suing for the same Patents? (1)

eyeota (686153) | more than 7 years ago | (#16751279)

If memory serves correctly, NTP sued RIM because of the technology they used to push email violated one of their patents. Palm--to my knowledge--doesn't have technology to push email to their devices. That's where companies like http://www.good.com/ [good.com] , and (at the time) http://www.jpmobile.com/ [jpmobile.com] came in. (3rd party addons to add push email to palm devices)
It seems NTP should go after Good--and now Microsoft (For their Exchange/AS Push) if anyone, but not palm.

Then again, what I do know, IANAL.

Re:Suing for the same Patents? (1)

Cid Highwind (9258) | more than 7 years ago | (#16754185)

Palm presumably has a big patent portfolio that covers the fundamental ideas of handheld computing. Good.com has a domain name and some mail servers. Which do you think NTP wants more?

Dear "editors" (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#16751307)

So typically editors, edit submissions to some degree and make sure some basic guidelines are followed. One of those is making sure acronyms are defined the first time they are used, especially if it is a really common acronym like Network Time Protocol, but you're using it to mean something else. For more information please read the Chicago Manual of Style.

Re:Dear "editors" (1)

Buran (150348) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753285)

Uhm, it's the name of the company. So do I have to write "Coca-Cola, which produces sodas and other types of beverages" or "Honda, maker of cars, motorcycles, marine engines and other large industrial products" or "Apple, producer of computers, music players, and online music distributor"? It's not the job of a writer to baby readers by telling them every little bit of extraneous information. The editor already provided some context by reminding us that NTP was mentioned in the past in another story and links to it, and the original submitter also provided some background.

Where exactly is the lack of information?

Re:Dear "editors" (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753657)

Uhm, it's the name of the company.

No, "NTP Incorporated" is the name of the company.

So do I have to write "Coca-Cola, which produces sodas and other types of beverages"

That depends, is there something else called Coca-Cola, aside from the company, that is the most common use of the term and is Coca-Cola the company an obscure firm that produces nothing and is known only to a few lawyers?

It's not the job of a writer to baby readers by telling them every little bit of extraneous information.

No, it's the job of the editor, to make sure acronyms, especially uncommon acronyms, and especially unusual uses of a common acronym to mean something other than the common definition, are expanded or explained. I'm sure anyone else who has worked as an editor will tell you the same.

Where exactly is the lack of information?

The lack of information is where they say "NTP" instead of "NTP Inc., a patent litigation company" or "NTP Inc." It is the same common sense as if you were editing an article about a a company called "TV Technologies." In your first reference to "TV" you don't write "TV is banned from operating in Pennsylvania." It is misleading. You write "TV Technologies, a Chinese firm, is banned from operating in Pennsylvania."

NTP, and their IP lawyers, (1)

THESuperShawn (764971) | more than 7 years ago | (#16751479)

make those ambulance chasing personal injury lawyers look good. They do not manufacture, implement, design, or even simply "dream up" anything to do with technology. They simply acquire patents (which are bogus in my humble opinion) and sue based on someone else's hard work.

If Dante were still around, he would have a special place in hell for these bastards.

An open letter to NTP... (2, Funny)

pr0digy25 (915443) | more than 7 years ago | (#16751517)

Dear NTP,

Palm is a company dedicated to innovation and a fair marketplace, and as such would like to offer a conditional out of court settlement in this matter.

The conditions of the offer are as follows:

1. NTP issues a public statement withdrawing it's claims of patent infringement against Palm.

2. Agree that this settlement will indemnify Palm, it's directors and any third-parties licensing our technology against future claims.

3. This agreement by bound by the laws of the State of California.

4. This agreement remains strictly confidential. Any breach of the secrecy of this agreement will result in litigation by jury trial in the above-noted jurisdiction.

5. Payment of past licensing fees to NTP will be in full and must be requisitioned from our affiliate bank in the "Triangle of Death" of the democratic country of Iraq.

6. Funds will only be relinquished to a member of your Board of Directors or Senior Management Team.

7. Our bankers are heavily armed, but we assure you this is for YOUR protection.

I hope you find this agreement to your satisfaction and this matter can be put to rest.

Sincerely,



Palm

ITS! (1)

MS-06FZ (832329) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752595)

It's not "it's", its proper spelling is "its".

Re:ITS! (1)

pr0digy25 (915443) | more than 7 years ago | (#16754467)

To me " 's " is a possessive... as in John's baseball, and in this case it is an entity.

Re:ITS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16754555)

Except that "its" is the possesive, because "it's" was already taken as the contraction for "it is". Arguing back grammar points without first checking is kind of silly.

Not A Chance in US Courts (1)

RIMed Off (1024079) | more than 7 years ago | (#16751625)

A US Patent Troll attempting to sue a US company in US courts - Not A Chance. These priviledges are reserved for the "benefit" of non-US entities to enhance the wealth of American corporations in a "fair" market system.

NTP's name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16751681)

Every time I read about this company I keep thinking about the time protocol. I really wish they'd change their name.

And Still No Penalties! (1)

blueZhift (652272) | more than 7 years ago | (#16751959)

No surprises here. As long as there's no penalty for using the patent and legal system as an ATM, companies like NTP will continue to do so. Even as their patents are being found to be invalid, they continue to sue. Oh well, I guess allegedly evil companies and allegedly evil lawyers have to keep busy.

News Flash News Flash News Flash (1)

darrenadelaide (860548) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752015)

*** News Flash *** News Flash *** News Flash ***

SCO acquired by NTP.

That should keep the courts busy for the next millenium.

This is the new Danegeld (1)

einnar2000 (985070) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752851)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danegeld [wikipedia.org]

Basically, they're like the old Danish Vikings. To quote Kipling "That if once you have paid him the Danegeld, You never get rid of the Dane." Once people started paying them off, they'd leave for a while, then come back. Historians have found more Anglo-Saxon pence of this period in Denmark than in England.

This is just the modern day version, and they're not the only company doing it. We've just traded in swords and shields for lawyers with pens.

Personally, I think we'd be a lot better off if we just gave the lawyers and litigants swords.

You're supporting this bullshit? (1)

Buran (150348) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752947)

You may recall NTP from the just-finished Blackberry case. Good to know they're staying busy.

You mean, as in filing baseless lawsuits over patents that have been rejected by the USPTO? You're glad that blatant extortion is going on? It seems to me like fertile grounds for a countersuit on extortion grounds if nothing else

NTP has nothing on Palm (1)

dasunst3r (947970) | more than 7 years ago | (#16754017)

Since a judge threw out most of NTPs claims against RIM, NTP does not have much to stand on this time around. I think that NTP needs to be put back in its place. How? Heres a hint: RIM and Palm partnership, simultaneous countersuits, and hilarity!
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