NTP has filed a patent infringrement lawsuit against Palm, echoing the allegations the patent-holding firm made that nearly shut down Research in Motion's (RIM's) BlackBerry service.

The new lawsuit, filed Monday in the US District Court for the Eastern Region of Virginia, alleges that Palm is using NTP technology in its mobile wireless email devices, and asks the judge to stop Palm from selling and operating such products, and to fine the company for punitive damages.

Palm's Treo 600 and 700 series smartphones combine phone service, email and internet access in a single handheld device. Treo sales are the primary reason for Palm's success, generating more than half the company's annual revenue. A Palm spokeswoman did not return calls for comment.

NTP claims it filed this lawsuit as a last resort, after failing to negotiate a license 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 such as Good Technology, Nokia and Visto.

In March, RIM agreed to pay $612.5 million to settle NTP's patent claims and gain the right to continue its smartphone business. The threat of an injunction had pulled many bystanders into the case, even pushing the federal government to argue before the judge that shutting down the BlackBerry service would stop many federal employees from doing their jobs.