Good Timing on the Visto-NTP Deal

15 Dec ’05

Much has already been said of the licensing deal just announced between Visto and NTP. I’m willing to bet that the timing, which presents a great PR opportunity for NTP at an anxious moment in its battle with RIM, has earned Visto a nice discount on the terms that would otherwise have been available to it. Honestly, one can’t buy press better than this (from the Globe):

Both sides described their negotiations as friendly and open. “We did find them to be very reasonable people to work with,” Mr. Mendez said of the NTP negotiators.

I think Ian Austen’s coverage in the NYT strikes just the right tone:

The patent dispute between NTP and Research In Motion, maker of the BlackBerry, has become a marketing opportunity for its competitors in the wireless e-mail business.

To that end on Wednesday, a wireless e-mail software provider, Visto, joined Good Technology and Nokia in licensing NTP’s patents for reasons that appear to have as much to do with marketing as with law.

Simon Avery’s article in the Globe also contained this little nugget – again, from Visto: “But they also said the complexity of the patents and issues drew out the talks over many months.” Which suggests simultaneous negotiations with those conducted by NTP and RIM that resulted in the now notorious – and eventually doomed by Judge Spencer – settlement agreement. Again I’m left wondering how NTP and RIM left that settlement agreement thinking they had an enforceable deal.

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