Pitney Bowes Sues Stamps.com, Alleges Patent Infringement

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Pitney Bowes Inc. said yesterday that it has filed suit against electronic stamps provider Stamps.com, Santa Monica, CA, charging that its NetStamps postage product infringes on four of Pitney Bowes' mail metering patents.


The suit was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware.


NetStamps lets users buy and print sheets of postage using NetStamps labels and an inkjet or laser printer. In July, Stamps.com received commercial approval from the U.S. Postal Service to sell the product.


Pitney Bowes said its goal is to settle this matter and reach a licensing agreement with Stamps.com.


Seth Weisberg, vice president and general counsel at Stamps.com, said that the company reviewed the complaint and "we believe their claims are without merit and that we do not need a license." Weisberg also said that Stamps.com is open to licensing its patent portfolio to Pitney Bowes or anyone else who needs a license.


This latest lawsuit is part of a history of litigation between the two postage providers. In June 1999, four months before Stamps.com began its Internet postage service, Pitney Bowes filed a lawsuit covering four patents supposedly violated in that product. Stamps.com filed a counter complaint last year against Pitney Bowes, alleging infringement of four of Stamps.com's Internet postage patents.


Weisberg added that the current lawsuit "appears to be an effort to distract attention away from the fact that Pitney Bowes' core DM product series is at stake in our patent litigation."


Both companies' earlier suits against each other are still pending.


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