Those 200 iPhone-Related Patents Don't Seem To Be Stopping Patent Infringement Lawsuits

from the welcome-to-the-patent-thicket dept

When the iPhone was first announced, Steve Jobs proudly hyped up the 200 patents the company had filed around the various parts of the device. However, we were among those who wondered what the point of all those patents were -- as most of the concepts were widely known, and Apples real innovation was putting them all together in a nice usable package. And, if Steve Jobs thought that the announcement of those 200 patents would scare off patent infringement lawsuits, he was clearly mistaken. The iPhone has already been accused of patent infringement for the touchscreen and the virtual keyboard, and now Klausner Technologies has sued the company for its visual voicemail offering. If Klausner sounds familiar to you, that's because it's the company that sued both AOL and Vonage for daring to display voicemail information on a screen (yes, apparently that concept is patented). Vonage, of course, recently settled with Klausner, giving it the cash to take on a big fish like Apple. Considering Apple's notorious willingness to pay up when accused of patent infringement, even on the most ridiculous patents, this strategy probably makes sense for Klausner, but it's hard to see how it furthers the cause of innovation.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    AlbinoRhino, Dec 4th, 2007 @ 1:09am

    If Klausner has a legitimate claim to be made then they should be concerned about infringements. People spend a lot of money in research and development and unfortunately it is often not with the frame of mind as to how it will benefit man. It is about how can I make a product that sells.

    Apple accomplished quite a feat by entering a tough market in the cell phone industry and being successful in it. This will help them to make people aware of the tons of other products that they have to offer.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Mike (profile), Dec 4th, 2007 @ 2:26am

      Re:

      If Klausner has a legitimate claim to be made then they should be concerned about infringements. People spend a lot of money in research and development and unfortunately it is often not with the frame of mind as to how it will benefit man. It is about how can I make a product that sells.

      Indeed. And then Klausner failed to sell the product. In a capitalist society that doesn't mean they should then be able to sue someone who DID figure out how to sell it.

      No one is suggesting that companies should do things for the good of mankind. What we are suggesting, however, is that just because you come up with an idea, you shouldn't get the right to charge whoever else figures out how to successfully market the idea.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Wha???????, Dec 4th, 2007 @ 4:27am

        Re: Re:

        They're not suing for them "marketing it". They're suing for them "using it".

        Learn to read??

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        And also., Dec 4th, 2007 @ 4:31am

        Re: Re:

        You must either work for apple, or use a iphone and are upset that a company noticed the iphone is a ripoff to companies that it stole its ideas from? Not to mention it's a ripoff to the stupid over paying customers who bought it. .

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          identicon
          Chronno S. Trigger, Dec 4th, 2007 @ 5:16am

          Re: Re: Re:

          So your saying that since Klausner wasn't able to actually use the supposed "Invention" then the said invention should be pulled off the market forever?

          Mike is absolutely correct in saying Klausner is suing for Apple being able to market the product where he wasn't. The idea is quite obvious, Apple just put into something that a lot of people want and Klausner is having a tantrum.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Ed H., Dec 4th, 2007 @ 3:18pm

        Re: Re:

        Mike,

        It doesn't matter if Klausner never sold a product or even attempted to sell one -- that doesn't mean they give up any patent rights. Let's say that today you have a brilliant new (and patentable) idea for some other innovation to cell phone voice mail. Unfortunately there's no way you're ever going to break into the market which is already sewn up by a few wireless carriers and the major electronics manufacturers who they've partnered with to make phones. Because your invention is implemented not just in the handset but also in the phone system infrastructure, unless you're Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, etc. your only chance of bringing your invention to market is to license it to one of them, and your patent is what forces Verizon etc. to deal with you.

        I can't say whether Klausner's patent is valid, but as long as it is, he should have the right to enforce it against anyone violating it, even if he's not in a position to manufacture the invention himself.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Brad Eleven, Dec 4th, 2007 @ 4:48am

    Mike said:
    ...just because you come up with an idea, you shouldn't get the right to charge whoever else figures out how to successfully market the idea.

    I struggled with this for a bit before I realized what I think you're saying: there's a line between imagining something and actually inventing it. How much work must be applied in order to get the patent? Drawings? Specifications? A prototype?

    It would appear that the presently respected line between imagination and invention is as fuzzy as the mood of the patent office employee on a particular day--or the inclination of a judge in Marshall, Texas.

    I think that patent law is the most obvious example of how the law of the land has failed to keep pace with the present state of technology. Without reform--or at the very least, a rigorous definition of invention--patents will be regarded as even more irrelevant than music copyrights.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Alfred E. Neuman, Dec 4th, 2007 @ 5:23am

    Obvious Question

    What is unique and non-obvious about this particular "invention" ?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2007 @ 6:35am

      Re: Obvious Question

      Considering the past performance of the USPO, most likely absolutely nothing.

      To the post below: indeed.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Max Powers, Dec 4th, 2007 @ 6:33am

    Patent Insurance

    Is there such a thing as Patent Infringement Insurance?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    AC, Dec 4th, 2007 @ 11:31am

    Re: post #10
    Poster of #10 is a Moron.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Joe Shmo, Dec 4th, 2007 @ 6:59pm

    Give me a break

    Is this even close to being applicable ?

    Patent 5572576
    Telephone answering device linking displayed data with recorded audio message

    What is claimed is:
    1. A telephone message system coupled to a telephone line for automatically answering incoming telephone calls and storing and retrieving information from the incoming telephone calls, comprising:
    (a) a telephone answering device, which comprises:
    means for receiving first signals from said telephone line, each of said first signals specifying a particular one of a plurality of callers;

    followed by alot of blah blah blah

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Ed H., Dec 5th, 2007 @ 9:34am

      Re: Give me a break

      > Is this even close to being applicable?

      Yes, probably very much so, assuming that caller ID data is what is meant by 'first signals'.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This