NTP silenced prior art inventor for $20K

Apr 17 2006 - 09:44 AM ET | Research In Motion

According to the New York Times, NTP was able to effectively silence an inventor named Geoff Goodfellow who dabbled in wireless email 10-years before NTP's patents were filed. The small patent holding firm recently received a $600 million settlement from BlackBerry inventor Research In Motion for patent infringement. All infringed upon patents have now been preliminarily or formally rejected after review.

After a $20K payment for several days of "consulting" work, Goodfellow was barred from talking to anyone else for the duration of the lawsuit. Despite being the first player in wireless email, Goodfellow wasn'te tempted to patent the technology because, "You don't patent the obvious."

James Wallace, a lawyer working for NTP, tracked down Goodfellow before RIM (or the US Patent and Trademark Office):

On a subsequent visit a year later, as Mr. Goodfellow remembers it, Mr. Wallace introduced him to a travel companion by saying: "Geoff's the inventor of wireless e-mail. My client patented some of its implementation workings."

[via TechDirt Wireless]