NTP has filed a patent infringrement lawsuit against Palm echoing the allegations the US patent holding company made that nearly shut down the BlackBerry service of Research in Motion (RIM).

The new lawsuit, filed yesterday in the US District Court for the Eastern Region of Virginia, alleges that Palm is using NTP technology in its mobile wireless email devices. The firm is seeking punitive damages and to stop Palm from selling and operating related products.

Palm's Treo sales are a primary reason for Palm's success, generating more than half the company's annual revenue. The current Treo 600 and 700 series model smartphones combine voice calling, email and Internet access in a single handheld device. Palm was not available for comment.

NTP claims it filed this lawsuit as a last resort, after failing to negotiate a licence agreement in previous talks, according to a statement from NTP co-founder Donald Stout. The company has licensed its wireless email technology to device makers like Nokia and Visto.

The patent-holding company won $612.5 million (£322.9m) from RIM in a settlement March over similar patent claims. The threat of an injunction however had pulled many bystanders into the case, even pushing the federal government to argue before the judge that shutting down BlackBerry service would stop many federal employees from doing their jobs.