Thursday, December 15, 2005

Visto sues Microsoft, partners with NTP

Visto asserts that Microsoft infringed on claims of three patents, US No. 6.085,192, No. 6,708,222 and 6,151,606, relating to the synchronization and access of data over a network. The US Patent and Trademarks Office invalidated ten of the 25 claims in the first, patent '192 in March, after re-examining the patent.

Visto CEO Brian Bogosian: "Microsoft has a long and well-documented history of acquiring the technology of others, branding it as their own, and entering new markets. For their foray into mobile email and data access, Microsoft simply decided to misappropriate Visto's well known and documented patented technology."

Separately, Visto licensed NTP's patents. Under the terms of the deal, Visto has gained access to NTP's patented methods for sending and receiving wireless data, while NTP has taken an equity stake in Visto. The NTP IP is meant to complement Visto's existing mobile data software. Of course, the deal between the two firms also paves the way for a couple shots against RIM, which remains embroiled in a patent conflict with NTP.

Bogosian: "Mobile users now know that Visto provides a safe and secure harbor that today Blackberry cannot offer its own customers."

The Visto deal will offer NTP some leverage with RIM, if RIM wants to settle the patent infringement suit with NTP. If RIM won't do the deal, RIM might be enjoined AND Visto might bring out a product. If anything unusual happens with the 1908 Continental Paper precedent after MercExchange v. eBay, NTP could say "we're bringing out a product with Visto," thereby neutralizing any "patent troll" argument.


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