March 11, 2005 12:26 PM PST

RIM rivals ink licensing agreement

NTP and Good Technology have reached a patent-licensing deal, turning up the heat on rival Research In Motion, which is embroiled in an infringement suit with NTP.

NTP, a patent-holding company, and Good Technology, a wireless communications specialist, announced the licensing agreement Friday. The deal gives Good access to certain of NTP's patents for the life of those patents, which begin to expire in 2012. The arrangement "covers certain products and equipment but excludes network communications services," the companies said in a statement.


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The companies also said NTP has invested an undisclosed amount in Good.

While the move gives heft to NTP's patents, it could also be seen as two competitors ganging up on a rival at an opportune time. If Good is safe from infringing on NTP's patents, it could have a leg up in its dealings with customers, carriers and handset manufacturers.

NTP has been tangled in a long-running patent infringement lawsuit against the BlackBerry maker. Previously, the court ruled that RIM infringed on NTP's patents, and a judge handed down an injunction preventing RIM from selling its wireless communications service and devices in North America, its largest market.

The injunction was stayed and later vacated but is still being considered as the case finds its way back to a district court following an appeals court decision.

"This license (between Good and NTP) means that when the injunction goes into place with RIM, people using Good's service will still be able to wirelessly receive their e-mail," said Kevin Anderson, an attorney with Wiley Rein & Fielding representing NTP.

NTP's agreement with Good, however, is nonexclusive and leaves the door open to other wireless communications companies, including RIM.

NTP has also signed handset maker Nokia to a licensing deal, and others are expected in the coming weeks. Nokia and Good are also handset partners.

Good and RIM settled their own suits in early 2004.

 

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