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Posts tagged ‘AT&T’

Vonage settles patent battle with Verizon

Vonage has agreed to settle partially on a patent suit with Verizon after the company was faced with possible interruption of its service. Verizon alleges that Vonage is infringing on seven of its patents on voice-over-IP technologies. A joint statement read succinctly “The parties are pleased to have resolved this matter.”

In March of this year, a jury found that Vonage is infringing on three of the seven patents, awarding Verizon with $58 million in damages. The judge issued an injunction which was stayed pending an appeal. Nevertheless in September, the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the earlier court decision. Vonage then filed a petition for a rehearing.

If Vonage wins a rehearing on either the ‘574 or ‘711 patent, or if the injunction is vacated as to the ‘574 or ‘711 patent, Vonage will have to pay Verizon $80 million. If Vonage does not win a rehearing on either the ‘574 or ‘711 patent, or if the stay is lifted reinstating the injunction, Vonage will pay Verizon $117.5 million.

Things got more interesting as AT&T filed a lawsuit against Vonage on October 17 for a patent on connecting a traditional telephone to the Internet. The suit was filed after two years of unsuccessful negotiations, however Vonage said they would resolve the matter with AT&T to prevent court proceedings.

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Another Apple Lawsuit

Apple Inc. is being sued by Klausner Technologies that has claimed that Apple iPhone has infringed on the Klausner patent for visual voice mail. Klausner is seeking $360 million in compensation and damages for its patent numbers US5572576 and US5283818 which basically describe a system that allows for the visual retrieval and sorting of voice mail by way of a display.

Patent #: US5572576
Title: Telephone answering device linking displayed data with recorded audio message
Assignee: Klausner Patent Technologies
Filind Date: March 15, 1994
Abstract: A telephone answering device (TAD) which includes a means of intelligently organizing voice messages, associated entered codes such as personal IDs and home telephone numbers, and information stored in the memory of the TAD. These codes or numbers are decoded by means of the caller entering DTMF signals into the telephone which are recognized, recorded and processed by the TAD. When processed with codes and personal information previously entered into the device’s memory, the TAD displays the identity of the callers for each message, thus providing a menu of choices, i.e., a list of callers. This enables the user to access messages in a selective manner based on the identity of the caller. The need to listen to the actual voice messages to determine the caller’s identity and the need to listen to the messages sequentially or chronologically is obviated, saving both time and effort. Additionally, because the voice message is also linked to pre-stored additional data in the data base, when hearing a message, one also can view relevant associated information, such as a fax number, etc., that might not have been left in the audio message but might be important. A remote access device is also provided that allows the user to retrieve and display the callers’ identities and select a message to be played back from a remote location.

Patent #: US5283818
Title: Telephone answering device linking displayed data with recorded audio message
Assignee: Klausner Patent Technologies
Filind Date: March 31, 1992
Abstract: A telephone answering device (TAD) which includes a means of intelligently organizing voice messages, associated entered codes such as personal IDs and home telephone numbers, and information stored in the memory of the TAD. These codes or numbers are decoded by means of the caller entering DTMF signals into the telephone which are recognized, recorded and processed by the TAD. When processed with codes and personal information previously entered into the device’s memory, the TAD displays the identity of the callers for each message, thus providing a menu of choices, i.e., a list of callers. This enables the user to access messages in a selective manner based on the identity of the caller. The need to listen to the actual voice messages to determine the caller’s identity and the need to listen to the messages sequentially or chronologically is obviated, saving both time and effort. Additionally, because the voice message is also linked to pre-stored additional data in the data base, when hearing a message, one also can view relevant associated information, such as a fax number, etc., that might not have been left in the audio message but might be important.

There are several other companies that have paid Klausner to license these technologies mentioned in these patents including AOL which is featuring the technology in its AOL Voicemail service. Vonage also pays for the use of this technology for its Voicemail Plus service. Thus far, Apple and AT&T have not made any comment on this issue.

Klausner is also filing against Comcast for their Digital Voice Mail, Cablevision for its Systems’ Optimum Voicemail, and Ebay’s Skype. The second suit filed in a different court on the same day seeks $300 in damages for patent infringement. Klausner Technologies is an avid patent seeker and was founded by Judah Klausner who invented and patented the PDA and electronic organizer. Klausner has been well known for its aggressive patent mongering.

Software turns smart phone into hotspot

Here’s a cool use for a phone that has both cellular broadband and Wi-Fi: Turn it into a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot so your friends can surf the Internet on their laptops.

A couple startups have created and made available software like this in the last year. But a more established software maker said Wednesday that it has created a package for carriers to offer their customers.

TapRoot Systems Inc. of Research Triangle Park, N.C., said it was talking with carriers about providing their customers with the software, which would let up to five Wi-Fi users connect to a phone.

A possible free trial version would let only one Wi-Fi user connect to the phone at a time.

The software works on phones with Windows Mobile or Symbian S60 software. Windows phones are common in the U.S., while Symbian is championed by Nokia Corp. and more common in Europe. There already is an independent program called WMWifirouter that turns Windows phones into hotspots, and there’s one called JoikuSpot for Nokia phones.

Capacity is limited on third-generation cellular broadband networks, and carriers are somewhat restrictive of the applications they allow, for fear their networks will be overwhelmed.

TapRoot’s system attempts to assuage that fear by letting carriers control access through a server, said Chief Executive Bob Bicksler. The carriers could then charge extra for the service, he said.

Not many phones have both 3G and Wi-Fi. U.S. carriers have in some cases removed or disabled Wi-Fi antennas for the U.S. launches of some phones by overseas manufacturers, apparently because they fear customers would be less likely to pay for 3G. However, combined Wi-Fi and 3G phones are becoming more common.

Bicksler mentioned AT&T Inc.’s Tilt and 8525 models and Sprint Nextel Corp.’s Mogul by HTC as phones that would work as mobile hotspots.

Another way of using a 3G network to create a Wi-Fi hotspot is to buy a Wi-Fi router that accepts a cellular broadband card. Cisco Systems Inc. makes such a router for the Sprint network.

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