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Lawsuit targets Palm Treo shutdown

NTP tries to stop sale of popular PDAs

NTP has filed a patent-infringrement lawsuit against Palm, echoing the allegations the patent-holding firm made that nearly shut down the RIM (Research in Motion) BlackBerry service.

The new lawsuit, filed yesterday in the US, alleges that Palm is using NTP technology in its mobile wireless email devices, and asks the judge to stop Palm from selling and operating such products, and to fine the company for punitive damages.

Palm's Treo 600 and 700 series smartphones combine phone service, email and internet access in a single handheld device. Treo sales are a primary reason for Palm's success, generating more than half the company's annual revenue. A Palm spokeswoman did not return calls for comment.

NTP claims it filed this lawsuit as a last resort, after failing to negotiate a licence agreement in previous talks, according to a statement from NTP co-founder Donald Stout. The company has licensed its wireless-email technology to device makers such as Good Technology, Nokia and Visto.

In March, RIM agreed to pay $612.5m (about £320m) to settle NTP's patent claims and gain the right to continue its smartphone business. The threat of an injunction had pulled many bystanders into the case, even pushing the federal government to argue before the judge that shutting down BlackBerry service would stop many federal employees from doing their jobs.


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