Palm Wins Stay of Suit By NTP

A federal judge handed Palm a victory on Thursday, saying that the company could continue to sell phones including technology that has caused them to be sued by patent-holding company NTP.

NTP is no stranger to patent litigation -- the company most recently successfully settled a$612.5 million with BlackBerry maker Research in Motion. The suit against Palm is similar to that case.

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia Judge James Spencer, who also oversaw the NTP-RIM battle, said in a ruling that Palm would be able to sell the Palm VII, Palm i700 and Palm Tungsten, and the Treo line, until the USPTO rules whether they infringe on NTP's patents.

He also ruled that a portion of the suit by NTP that alleges misconduct by the Patent Office would be dropped from the case.

Furthermore, any additional action has been put on hold while the USPTO rules on the validity of patents held by NTP. Those who followed the case against RIM may remember that the settlement came before a final judgement on the validity of NTP's claims.

Palm said it was pleased with Spencer's ruling. "We hope and expect that the PTO's review of NTP's patents will confirm the decision of the examiners to reject them all and so avert the need for further litigation of this matter," general counsel Mary Doyle said.

NTP has not specified whether it plans to appeal. "The ongoing reexamination by the (PTO) is one step in a process that could end in the federal court system, including the Court of Appeals, which previously upheld NTP's patents," it said in a statement to the press.

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