Klausner Technologies files a voice mail patent lawsuit against Google Verizon Communications, LG Electronics, Comverse Technology, Citrix Systems and Embarq in U.S. District Court in Tyler, Texas. Judah Klausner claims infringements on patents in various countries for visual voice mail. Klausner previously sued and won settlements from Time Warner's AOL and Vonage.
SAN FRANCISCO-Emboldened by settlements with Apple Inc
and AT&T Inc, inventor Judah Klausner filed a voicemail patent
lawsuit on Tuesday against Google Inc, Verizon Communications Inc and
The inventor's company, Klausner Technologies Inc, also named as
defendants LG Electronics Inc, Comverse Technology Inc, Citrix Systems
Inc and Embarq Corp in a patent infringement complaint filed in U.S.
District Court in Tyler, Texas, according to a court filing.
Anticipating the attack, Verizon filed its own lawsuit against
Klausner two weeks ago in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern
District of New York that seeks to have a federal judge declare the
inventor's visual voicemail patent invalid.
"We anticipated Klausner's action," Verizon spokesman Jim Smith said
in a statement. "We are seeking a declaration that Klausner's visual
voicemail patent is invalid and that Verizon's system does not infringe
the patent in any event."
Verizon offers a mobile phone called Voyager built by LG Electronics that features visual voicemail.
The new case involves claims by Klausner tied to patents in various
countries he began receiving in 1992 for "visual voicemail"-applying
a graphical way of interacting with voicemail messages that allow it to
be used like e-mail.
In June, Apple, which recently popularized "visual voicemail"
through its hit iPhone device, together with AT&T and eBay Inc, the
owner of Web-based calling service Skype, settled a patent suit filed
last December by Klausner.
Privately held Klausner has not disclosed financial details of the settlements or related patent licensing deals.
Klausner previously sued and won settlements from Time Warner Inc's AOL and Vonage Holdings Corp.
Comcast Corp, which was also sued in the December case, recently
agreed to a licensing deal as part of its own settlement, Klausner said
in a telephone interview. Klausner remains in talks with Cablevision
Systems Corp, another defendant.
U.S. wireless carrier Sprint Nextel Corp signed a licensing deal
with Klausner without being sued. The contract covers voicemail
features on its "Instinct" phone from Samsung Electronics Co Ltd that
competes with Apple's iPhone.
In December, Klausner sued seven companies for what he said in a
news release was $360 million in damages and royalties for violating
patents on technology that sends visual alerts to computers or mobile
telephones when a user has a voice message and allows users to
selectively retrieve messages.
The new lawsuit names nine companies and their affiliates as defendants.
A Web-based unified phone messaging start-up, Grand Central
Communications Inc, which Google acquired a year ago, was also named in
the suit. Other defendants include privately held cable operator Cox
Communications and voice-over-Internet start-ups PhoneFusion and
RingCentral, the court filing said.
Klausner first sued AOL in 2005 and has filed a succession of cases
since then. The inventor said he would consider filing lawsuits against
additional companies that failed to license his patents, including
Web-based phone service providers, but that many smaller companies have
opened settlement talks recently.
The latest complaint seeks a jury trial. The plaintiffs are
represented by Dovel & Luner LLP of Santa Monica, California.
Klausner, 56, is a serial inventor who licensed patents on personal
electronic organizers to Japanese consumer electronics makers in the
1970s and 1980s.
(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Andre Grenon)
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