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Patent company NTP settles with Apple, Google etc.

NEW YORK (AP) -- NTP said Monday that it has settled patent suits over email delivery with 13 major technology companies, including Apple, Microsoft, Google and all four national wireless carriers.

NTP Inc. did not disclose the value of the settlements. NTP holds patents on the wireless delivery of email. Those patents expired this year, but NTP may have been entitled to royalties on products released before that.

NTP said the companies that settled are: AT&T Inc., Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel Corp., T-Mobile USA, Apple Inc., HTC Corp., Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. (now part of Google Inc.), Palm Inc. (now part of Hewlett-Packard Co.), LG Electronics, Samsung Electronics, Google Inc., Microsoft Corp., and Yahoo Inc.

NTP won a whopping $612.5 million settlement against Research In Motion Ltd., the maker of BlackBerry phones, in 2006. The main threat NTP wielded against RIM was a court-ordered halt of the sale of BlackBerrys and the operation of its e-mail service in the U.S. But a Supreme Court ruling in 2006, a few months after the RIM settlement, made such injunctions much harder to obtain for "non-practicing entities" such as NTP, which don't have commercial products. That limited NTP's power to win similar large settlements.

NTP was founded by Thomas Campana, an inventor, and Don Stout, a lawyer. Campana worked on wireless e-mail technology in the early 1990s, but never brought the technology to market. He died in 2004.