patent seal
Patent seal

The title is meant to be sarcastic, but the essence is clear: Be careful adopting new technology or business system – make sure that you have done your due diligence in ensuring that you and your business are not infringing anybody’s copyrights.

Or, on the other way around – if you have developed powerful, life-hacking system for businesses, be sure you have done your due diligence in protecting your asset; this way, you can force other businesses to sign for any licensing agreement with you.

Well, that is exactly the case of NTP vs. Apple, Google, HTC, LG, Microsoft and Motorola in patent infringement lawsuit.

According to the news coverage by WebProNews, NTP Inc. – the holder of a good host of patents – filed a lawsuit against Apple, Google, HTC, LG, Microsoft and Motorola over eight patents related to the wireless delivery of email to cellphones.

NTP is making money suing big businesses?

According to WSJ, many critics call NTP a “patent troll” – all thanks to the aggressive legal tactics of NTP.

Of course, the lawsuit will drop if the smartphone companies ‘comply’ by paying licensing fees to NTP – very “smart”, indeed!

Not only the big names mentioned above, NTP also sued AT&T, T-Mobile USA, Sprint Nextel, and Verizon Communications, as well as Verizon Wireless.

Why the aggressive and confident legal moves? Well, NTP has a good track record in generating nice revenue off the patent infringement – NTP’s long legal case vs. RIM, the maker of BlackBerry, yielded $612.5 million in settlement back in 2006.

However, NTP’s make-a-fuss-over-intellectual-property is actually having valid ground. Regardless of what the critics say, Ron Epstein, the licensing lawyer hired by NTP to be a deal-maker vs. the smartphone companies, said that NTP’s intellectual property is legitimate.

Some lessons learned

1. Protect your asset well

Patent troll? Well, I’ll say – regardless of what critics called NTP, it owns legitimate patents which require for those who implement NTP’s patented tech to pay a certain amount of licensing fee.

This whole patent troll thing is simply silly – NTP is smart; It registers various ‘hot’ patents and attempt to generate business revenue out of them from licensing fees (and filing lawsuits,) even without launching any products at all.

2. Never mess around with patents and copyrights

Like what I mentioned early in this article, you must do what’s needed to do to ensure your business doesn’t infringe any patents and copyrights.

If you have just established a new business, you might be able to get away with an infringement or two – but always consider loopholes and grey areas in patents as time bombs; when you encounter a patent owner that is as tenacious as NLP, you’ll find yourself in deep trouble.

Any thoughts to share? Please do so by commenting on this article.

Ivan Widjaya
On patent infringement