It’s probably just as well that Apple got out of the handheld market when it folded its Newton MessagePad efforts. NCR Corp. claims it holds the rightful patent for “portable personal terminals,” and has filed suit against PDA makers
for patent violation.
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Delaware last Wednesday. The claim says that
has two patents applicable to networkable handheld devices that perform certain functions like what the Palm and Handspring PDAs can do, such as financial transactions. The patent was issued in 1987, long before Palm, or even Apple, debuted their PDAs.
In a terse press release issued today, Palm Inc. flatly refuted NCR Corp.’s claim, saying the lawsuit “has no merit.” Palm’s general counsel, Stephen Yu, said that the company would defend itself vigorously against NCR’s accusations. Handspring has thus far issued no official comment in a press release, although company representatives have previously been quoted as having said they believe the NCR suit is without merit.
Together, Palm and Handspring lay claim to more than 80 percent of the U.S. market for handheld computers.