Visto Corp. sued Good Technology Inc., a rival maker of software that competes with Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM)'s BlackBerry device, over patents for wireless e-mail.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Marshall, Texas, claims that Good Technology's products and services, used in Palm Inc.'s Treo devices, infringed four patents, Visto said in a statement. The companies' software is used to exchange e-mails on cellular phones.
Visto and Good Technology are vying to supply software for rivals to the BlackBerry, the most-popular handheld e-mail device in the U.S. with about 3.2 million users. Waterloo, Ontario-based Research In Motion faces a possible court-ordered shutdown after a jury found that it infringed patents owned by NTP Inc., which holds stakes in Good Technology and Visto.
``Good was popping up saying, `We're the safe harbor,' and now Visto is stepping forward and saying, `We're the safe harbor,''' said Rob Enderle, president of the Enderle Group, a research firm based in San Jose, California. ``The end result will be that Microsoft steps in and takes all the business.''
NTP lawyer James Wallace said the patent-licensing firm, based in Arlington, Virginia, isn't involved in the fight between the two licensees. Visto, based in Redwood Shores, California, said it provides Visto Mobile service to clients including Cingular, Sprint Nextel and Vodafone.
``Good Technology, like other late entrants to this market, has no patents directed to wireless e-mail and very clearly infringes on our long-held intellectual property,'' Visto Chief Executive Officer Brian Bogosian said in the statement.
Good Technology, based in Santa Clara, California, provides software for the Treo and Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Mobile. The company's clients include the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Starbucks Corp., spokeswoman Reena Mukamal said.
``Until we have an opportunity to see and review this complaint, we're not in a position to comment on it,'' she said.
Visto also sued Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft in Marshall, contending that the Windows Mobile 5.0 infringes three of the four patents involved in the Good Technology suit.
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