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. icon
    Mike (profile), 18 Jun 2008 @ 1:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Wrong on so many points

    Funny you should say that 4 comments after being proven totally wrong on every point you stated earlier... and whose only response is to tell me to stuff the evidence up my ass (classy).

    Angry dude, in order to be taken seriously, when someone presents evidence proving you wrong, you at least need to provide counter evidence.

    Unless, of course, there is none.

    Patents are supposed to encourage public disclosure of new inventions as opposed to trade secrets

    Nope. It's a nice thought, but it's simply not true. Patents were designed to encourage the progress of science and the useful arts. Disclosure was considered one part of that -- though, recent evidence has shown that the patent system fails as a disclosure mechanism. But, you're angry dude, what use does evidence have to you?


    Requiring productizing the invention to generate income will undermine the whole purpose of the patent system
    What are all universities supposed to do then ?


    Universities did tons of research well before they could patent the results. Most universities have an educational charter -- and even worse, an awful lot of the research done is based on grants involving public money.

    So university research would be fine without patents. In fact, it would likely be even stronger, since researchers would no longer have to be so damn afraid of getting sued. The chilling effects of patents on academic research are legendary.

    And how can any single inventor with just one patent produce any income if he is facing a consolidated industry cartel trying to take him down ?

    He can team up with others and build a better product. What else would he do?

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