Apple Hit with iPhone Patent Lawsuit

Having forced AOL and Vonage into settlements, Klausner Technologies turns its attention to Apple and the iPhone.

Seeking damages and future royalties estimated at $360 million, Klausner Technologies is suing Apple and AT&T for patent infringement related to the iPhone.

The lawsuit, filed Dec. 3, also names Comcast, Cablevision Systems and eBay's Skype for patent infringement on the same technology.

Apple is named in the lawsuit as the designer of the iPhone, while AT&T is named for selling the mobile device.

The Klausner suit, filed in the federal Eastern District Court in Texas, claims the iPhone violates Klausner's intellectual property rights by allowing users to selectively retrieve voice messages via the iPhone's inbox display. The Klausner patents have already been licensed to other companies that provide visual voice mail, including AOL and Vonage Holdings.

However, AOL and Vonage didn't agree to license the technology until Klausner sued them for infringement.

"We have litigated this patent successfully on two prior occasions," Greg Dovel of Dovel & Luner, counsel for Klausner Technologies, said in a statement. "With the signing of each new licensee, we continue to receive further confirmation of the strength of our visual voice mail patents."


Click here to read about Apple's plans to bring out a third-generation iPhone in 2008.

Klausner also claimed the same technology has been used without permission in Cablevision's Optimum Voice, Comcast's Digital Voice Voice Mail and eBay's Skype Voicemail.

Apple representatives did not return a telephone call seeking comment.


Klausner was founded by Judah Klausner, who claims to be the inventor of the PDA and the electronic organizer. The company said in a statement that Apple's original Newton PDA was covered under a licensing deal between Klausner and Japan's Sharp, manufacturer of the Newton.

The success of the iPhone has drawn numerous lawsuits. In California, Apple is facing a class action suit claiming Apple's exclusive deal with AT&T violates the state's antitrust laws. Apple also faces lawsuits involving the iPhone battery, which can't be replaced by users, forcing customers to ship the device to Apple for new installation.


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