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Apple and AT&T Sued Over Visual Voicemail Patents, Will Probably Lose

Illustration for article titled Apple and ATT Sued Over Visual Voicemail Patents, Will Probably Lose

Klausner Technologies, a patent holding firm founded by the inventor of the PDA, is suing Apple and AT&T for $360 million for infringing on its patents with visual voicemail. Its patents cover selectively retrieving messages from a menu displaying the caller's name, number, etc. Yes, they have on patent on that entire concept. Lending credibility to their claim, the suit's filed in US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, the McDonald's of patent suits, complete with a drive-thru window.

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But what makes this more legit than the average infringement suit—and scary for the big A's—is that they've successfully sued both AOL and Vonage into submission over the same patents. Better still, Apple actually licensed one of Klausner's older patents for an electronic pocket dictionary for the Newton. Takeaway: Klausner has a pretty good shot at digging some coin out of AT&T and Apple's back pockets. Any bets on how long it'll be before they settle? [Apple Insider]

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DISCUSSION

@BStu:

This is simply too basic a concept to patent.

Big Steve didn't think it was so basic when he was touting it as a major breakthrough of the iPhone. It seems like that if Apple was the one holding the patent, they would not be allowing others to use it on their phones. But, this is the way business works today, unfortunately.

That said, your basic premise that patents are screwed up is very true. Personally, I would love to see the whole patent concept be tossed out entirely. As long as someone it not copying the entire product being sold (which is not what patents cover anyway), it should be open competition.