Klausner Adds Another Visual Voicemail Patent Lawsuit

from the whoops,-missed-one dept

Small patent holding firm Klausner Technologies has sued HTC for infringing the patents on visual voicemail it says it holds, adding the phone maker to a long list of companies that have been attacked with the overly broad patent. Just as in the previous cases, it's not clear how this system actually helps anybody that's doing any actual innovation; the company with the patent, but which has never apparently done anything to actually bring it to market, gets to assess an innovation tax on companies doing the actual legwork. Meanwhile, the idea underlying the patent -- displaying voicemail info on a screen -- really isn't much more than a foreseeable progression of technology. So carry on, patent system, holding back innovation and misaligning incentives.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 3:17pm

    carlo, you make the mistake common to so many including the masnick: you look back from todays prospective and quality something as obvious now. but it may not have been obvious then. that is always the issue. can you say without a doubt that it was obvious when the patent was submitted? not just the concept,but the steps involved to do it?

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 3:24pm

    Re:

    Yeah, I would never have thought of putting information on a visual medium! It's not like people have been doing that for the past 500 years.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 3:27pm

    Re:

    "but it may not have been obvious then."

    It was obvious then. Maybe not to retards like yourself, but to the rest of society it was.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 3:28pm

    Don't patents protect the process, not the end product?

    A patent of a toaster would patent the specific mechanical interactions that go on inside the product that lowers bread into a small oven, then pops it up with a timer. The patent would not be able to protect the overall idea of "a small kitchen appliance that automatically toasts bread to the desired amount."

    Another example is that of transistors. The original transistor design is not what we use today, even though it was patented. People found better ways to do the same thing and that's what we use today.

    So how can companies patent overall ideas like visual voice mail? Wouldn't they have to patent the actual method of translating the voice mail on phone company servers into a visual UI?

    I guess this would go back to the whole nonsense of patenting software.

     

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  5.  
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    Andrew D. Todd, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 3:34pm

    Here You Are! In Concrete Detail.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 4:14pm

    Re:

    you could have gotten a patent on 'a small kitchen device using electrical resistance heating and sensor systems to toast bread to a desired amount', back when it wasnt obvious. its obvious now so something of a joke. heck there is a patent on windshield wipers now isnt that just the most obvious thing now?

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 5:09pm

    Re: Re:

    Yes, because innovation never occurs without patents and hence all ideas should be patented.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 5:23pm

    Re: Re:

    You mean the windshield wiper technology that was stolen from the inventor, who had to spend years fighting in the courts to get proper credit and ownership of? Who actually built a working model of his invention beforehand? There was even a Hollywoodized movie about this.

    Way to counter your own point: Just because you patent an idea doesn't mean you're the rightful holder of that IP.

     

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  9.  
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    abc gum, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 6:20pm

    Re:

    "look back from todays prospective and quality something as obvious now. but it may not have been obvious then."

    Possibly, you meant to say something like
    "look back from todays perspective and (quantify?) something as obvious ..." ?. You forgot the part about someone practiced in the field.

     

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  10.  
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    Trish, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 7:17pm

    reply to commentor #1

    "not just the concept,but the steps involved to do it?"
    There was a post recently on this blog that this comment reminds e of; it was something like 'if you have an idea to program some function but don't know how to do it, outsource the problem to a bunch of IT guys and they'll come up with the code'. Software patents are bs because the code used belongs to everyone, and the 'inventor' is really just using that code to perform a function on a computer, he's not inventing anything. The concept of photo voicemail is pretty obvious, think Star Trek back in the 60's where images were displayed on a screen and people talked to each other through those screens, wouldn't take a genius to think of voicemail using video even back then. The steps involved to do that could be 'invented' by any decent programmer.

     

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  11.  
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    Big Al, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 7:26pm

    Re:

    So, isn't this the equivalent of my old answering machine displaying a light when someone had left a message? Or my new one showing the number of messages and the calling numbers?

    Good lord, these guys can make a fortuine suing everyone without even creating a competing product.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 7:50pm

    Re: reply to commentor #1

    if my company is paying someone $40 an hour to code, you better believe that we own the code. if not, why would anyone bother to pay to code anything, knowing the competition could just take the code and duplicate all your efforts for nothing?

     

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  13.  
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    abc gum, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 8:14pm

    Re: Re: reply to commentor #1

    You do not understand the software business.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 8:24pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    yes, stolen because (stupidly) he didnt get a patent on it. see? that is one of the reasons why patents are important.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 11:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Hmm?

    Your saying patents are so important because the patent system is broken? Because no one looks for prior art or tries to verify the credibility of an application?

    That's some hilarious circular logic you've got going there. "We need patents to protect ourselves from patent trolls! Without the patent system, someone else could claim the patents!"

     

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  16.  
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    Michael, Apr 28th, 2010 @ 4:16am

    Re:

    Yes, it is easy to look back and say something is obvious. It is especially easy when you look at how many companies are doing this now. Are you really arguing that every company that is doing this saw the patent and copied it?

    This is another good case for an independent invention argument for obviousness.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 28th, 2010 @ 5:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    no i am saying because he didnt move to get a patent and declare his prior art, someone else got the patent. once they have the patent he has to then prove actual prior art in a court of law to get it back. harder work. if he had patent his device he wouldnt have the issue. sorry you are trying to twist my words and bait me mike, but you fail.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2010 @ 8:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So it's okay that the patent office doesn't check that the applicant actually invented the thing in question?

    Great system there.

     

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


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