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Company That Sued BlackBerry Files Against Palm

NTP Inc., which successfully sued the maker of BlackBerry devices for infringement of wireless e-mail patents, said Monday it is suing Palm Inc., maker of the Treo smart phone.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, alleges that Palm's products, services, systems and processes have improperly used NTP's wireless e-mail technology.

Palm's shares tumbled $1.17 to $14.24 in Nasdaq trading, the entire 7.6 percent loss coming after news of the suit broke.

The suit asks the court to bar Palm from "continuing to infringe on NTP's patents" and seeks monetary damages for the alleged past infringements.

A telephone message left for a Palm representative on Monday afternoon was not immediately returned.

In March, BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Ltd. agreed to pay NTP $612.5 million to settle a four-year patent dispute. Though it never conceded wrongdoing, RIM acknowledged that customers had delayed placing new orders due to the threat of a court-ordered shutdown of the BlackBerry system.

The Palm complaint also centers on products, services and systems that integrate e-mail systems with wireless communications, including the Treo, Palm VII, Palm i700 and Tungsten products.

At issue are seven patents, dating from 1995 to 2001, according to the lawsuit. Five of the patents were part of NTP's lawsuit against RIM.

NTP co-founder Donald E. Stout said Monday his company has tried to work out a licensing agreement with Sunnyvale, Calif.-based palm. The lawsuit is a "last resort to protect our valuable intellectual property," Stout said in a statement.

A privately held patent holding company based in Richmond, Va., NTP has licensed its technology to Nokia Corp., Good Technology Inc. and Visto Corp.

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