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U.S. Email Firm Sues Swiss Postal Service

E-mail verification company RPost has brought a federal suit charging the Swiss agency of patent and trademark infringement.

A U.S. company that provides legal proof of e-mail transmissions is suing the Swiss post office in federal court for patent infringement, the first time a foreign government agency is being sued for infringing on a U.S. patent.

RPost, which provides a services that verifies e-mail content and delivery to provide legally valid, court-admissible evidence, is suing Swiss Post not only for infringing on its patents, but also for trademark infringement. The case has been filed in the U.S. District Court, Central District of California.

Swiss Post is the postal service for Switzerland that also offers a range of personal and business solutions, including IT services.

RPost has been granted 25 patents in 20 countries; four in the U.S.

The patents at issue in the case are two U.S. Patents: 6,182,219 and 6,571,334, which are for ways RPost proves the delivery and content of e-mail to provide proof back to the sender in a way that can be authenticated, said Zafar Khan, CEO of RPost, in an interview Wednesday.

Khan said Swiss Post also called its e-mail verification service Registered Email which has been the name of RPost's service since 2000. Swiss Post could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

RPost is asking the court to request that Swiss Post cease infringement and stop offering a service of the same name that infringes on the company's patents, Khan said.

He said that RPost also is open to striking a business relationship with Swiss Post, and that since the suit was filed, the agency has been cooperative with RPost's requests. "They have disabled the ability for any new customers to sign on to the service until the matter is worked out," Khan said.

This isn't the first time RPost has taken legal action for patent infringement. Last month a suit the company had filed against Goodmail, which also named AOL and Yahoo, was settled. Goodmail agreed to use RPost technology for all of its proof of delivery products, according to RPost.

Florida-based GlobalPex and RPost are currently in confidential settlement agreement for a case RPost brought against that company.

E-mail verification has become an important business service, especially for firms that may need legal proof that messages were sent and received, or may need to prove in court the content of messages.

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