Wireless carriers sued for patent infringement

NEW YORK Wed Sep 12, 2007 8:56am EDT

Blackberry devices are used in Los Angeles March 3, 2006. NTP Inc, which last year won a $612.5 million settlement from the maker of Blackberry, has sued four of the top U.S. mobile service providers for infringing eight patents related to wireless e-mail. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Blackberry devices are used in Los Angeles March 3, 2006. NTP Inc, which last year won a $612.5 million settlement from the maker of Blackberry, has sued four of the top U.S. mobile service providers for infringing eight patents related to wireless e-mail.

Credit: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - NTP Inc, which last year won a $612.5 million settlement from the maker of Blackberry, has sued four of the top U.S. mobile service providers for infringing eight patents related to wireless e-mail.

The lawsuits, against Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel Corp (S.N), T-Mobile USA and the mobile unit of AT&T Inc (T.N) were filed September 7 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, according to court documents.

NTP, which is asserting patents related to products, processes and services used for wireless e-mail systems, said it was seeking a jury trial, injunctive relief and monetary damages.

The suits follow a case NTP brought against Treo mobile phone maker Palm Inc PALM.O in November last year.

The judge in the Palm case granted a stay of the suit in March this year and agreed to strike an NTP complaint alleging misbehavior by Palm at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Virginia-based NTP is best known for its prolonged patent infringement battle with Research In Motion Ltd RIM.TO, maker of Blackberry, the popular wireless e-mail device.

Officials for AT&T and Verizon Wireless, owned by Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N) and Vodafone Group Plc (VOD.L), declined comment. Sprint and T-Mobile USA, owned by Deutsche Telekom AG (DTEGn.DE), were not immediately available.

(Reporting by Lewis Krauskopf and Sinead Carew)

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