Apple, eBay And AT&T All Give In On Visual Voicemail Patents

from the sad-to-hear dept

The reason patent hoarding firms are often successful in getting companies to pay up has little to do with the quality of their patents, but the fact that fighting these lawsuits out in court is so very expensive and time consuming. It's often much easier and cheaper to just settle. Klausner Technologies has been very successful in getting companies to pay up for daring to use the concept of "visual voicemail." Klausner for years has basically claimed ownership to any sort of "visual" phone info, such as the time it sued AOL for daring to display caller ID info on your screen -- something that clearly no one would have ever thought of if not for Klausner's patent. AOL just settled rather than deal with the mess of fighting it. Ditto for a similar lawsuit against Vonage. The latest trio to settle up are Apple, eBay and AT&T. With Apple and AT&T the lawsuit was over the visual voicemail feature found on the iPhone -- guess all those patents Steve Jobs hyped up didn't protect it from patent lawsuits.

So now Klausner has even more money to go after others (Comcast and Cablevision are listed as targets) -- and it will use the fact that all these big name companies settled as "evidence" that its patents are valid, even if the only thing it really means is that companies did the math and realized it's cheaper to settle. Even the press is falling for this false claim. News.com notes that Apple, AT&T and eBay probably would have lost because AOL and Vonage licensed the patent. That's not at all true. Both companies settled because it was cheaper and easier, rather than due to any acknowledgment that the patents are valid. The fact that some firms settle have no bearing on whether or not other companies could have won in court.
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Filed Under: patents, visual voicemail
Companies: aol, apple, at&t, ebay, klausner, vonage


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  1. identicon
    Mike, 18 Jun 2008 @ 7:42am

    Re: Re:

    Patents are an integral part of modern high-tech development

    Other than all of the studies that have shown they're not.... and that they actually tend to hold back high-tech development?

    http://www.patentlyo.com/patent/2008/03/do-patents-stim.html

    Without patents there would be little invention going on and absolutely no public disclosure

    Again despite tons of evidence to the contrary?

    http://www.amazon.com/Industrialization-Without-National-Patents-Schiff/dp/0691041970

    Plus, companies would impose some draconian non-compete agreements on their scientists and engineers

    Ignoring, of course, the fact that (at least in California) non-competes are unenforceable.

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20071204/005038.shtml

    You'd better read what some serious people like Silicon Valley VCs write, not the shitty blogs like this one

    Such as how much they dislike patents? Let's look and see what people like serious Silicon Valley VCs write:

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20051220/015253.shtml
    http://www.techdirt.com/articl es/20060414/0120234.shtml
    http://joi.ito.com/weblog/2005/07/08/one-venture-cap.html
    http://avc.blo gs.com/a_vc/2006/04/patently_absurd.html
    http://www.askthevc.com/blog/archives/2007/11/should-start ups.php
    http://www.feld.com/blog/archives/2006/04/abolish_softwar.html

    Oh look, they hate patents.

    And, why not include some actual evidence showing that, contrary to popular opinion, VCs don't focus on patents:

    http://www.digitalmajority.org/forum/t-13940/study-shows-most-vc-funded-software-startu ps-don-t-patent

    Angry dude, you have a way with words. Tragically, almost all of them are easily proven wrong. We've gone through this before.

    Can I ask a simple question: given all of the evidence we present that you repeatedly ignore -- often followed by personal insults and outright lies -- what would it take for you to admit that you were wrong? What kind of evidence would it take?

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