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Klausner Technologies seeks to milk money out of Apple, and in a seperate suit out of Comcast, Cablevision Systems, and eBay's Skype

What is lauded by many users as one of the iPhone's hottest features has just landed the electronics giant in some hot legal waters

TIME magazine's invention of the year, just landed one of the bigger patent infringement suits of the year.  Klausner Technologies has filed suit against Apple claiming the giant infringed on its patent for visual voicemail, and is seeking $360M in compensation and damages. 

Klausner holds U.S. patents 5,572,576 and 5,283,818.  The patents basically describe a system that allows for visual retrieval and sorting of voicemail via a display.  The patents certainly sound like they would cover any visual voicemail setup, which likely is making Apple pretty nervous.

The plaintiff cites Apple's states that visual voicemail is "one of the greatest advances in the history of mankind ... without question" and yet is shorting the inventor on royalties.

Various other companies have already paid Klausner Technologies to license these patents, including Time Warner's AOL, which features the technology in its AOL Voicemail service.  Vonage also pays to use the technology in its Voicemail Plus service.

Apple and AT&T refused to make immediate comments on the lawsuit.

The suit was filed by
California law firm of Dovel & Luner in a federal court in the Eastern District of Texas.  Klausner also attacked Comcast's Digital Voice Voicemail, Cablevision Systems' Optimum Voicemail, and Ebay's Skype, filing a separate lawsuit in the same court, on the same day.  The second suit cites infringement on the same patents and seeks from the group of infringers a barely lighter $300M.

Klausner Technologies is an avid patent seeker, and was founded by Judah Klausner who invented and patented the PDA and electronic organizer.  Judah owns the legendary U.S. patent  4,117,542 which covers these devices.  He licensed his PDA patent under an OEM license to Apple so that Apple could develop its Newton PDA, which became the archetype for many PDAs to come.  Klausner's new company has oft been compared to licenser NTP for its aggressive patent mongering -- though in Klausner's defense, he has singularly come up with a large portion of the ideas.

Now Apple, who once enjoyed happy times with Klausner celebrating Newtons in the 90s, faces its former friend as an enemy in court.  Unfortunately for Apple, Klausner is just one legal enemy of its much maligned iPhone.  Apple is facing class action suits for its iBricking and "monopolistic behavior", suits over the iPhones battery, an environmental lawsuit from activist organization Greenpeace, and complaints of iFires.

Hopefully Apple's astronomical iPhone sales and energetic growth can keep pace with its mounting legal bills.

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Celebrating Newtons?
By daftrok on 12/4/2007 1:32:26 PM , Rating: 3
Um...didn't they suck?

RE: Celebrating Newtons?
By Keeir on 12/4/2007 1:46:48 PM , Rating: 3
Newtons had two main "flaws"

1.) Initial Handwriting Rec. software tried to do too much... like "learn" the users hand writing... When it failed, it created the market perception the software didn't work well (even though through the revisions, newtons had for the time amazing handwriting rec. software that would not be matched for almost 10 years in a commercial product)

2.) Too damned expensive. Newtons were pricey beasts that couldn't do that much. A good comparison is like the UPMCs of today, except even worse... I think many Newtons cost more than 1,000 dollars in the Mid 90s

So if you were a techie with money growing on a tree, the Newton was really a pretty solid peice of technology

RE: Celebrating Newtons?
By daftrok on 12/4/2007 2:13:12 PM , Rating: 2
And no PC connectivity.

RE: Celebrating Newtons?
By Keeir on 12/4/2007 2:51:26 PM , Rating: 2
And no PC connectivity.

Can't remember if it connected to Windows systems but even connecting to Apple systems required additional hardware and software not typically bundled with the Newton.... I am lead to believe it was actually not that hard of the desktop connection... just yet again additional expense and time fiddling with a gadget...

RE: Celebrating Newtons?
By Omega215D on 12/4/2007 3:52:28 PM , Rating: 4
Beat Up Martin

Eat Up Martha

“So far we have not seen a single Android device that does not infringe on our patents." -- Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith
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