HTC Sued Over Visual Voicemail Patents


Why is everyone always picking on poor HTC about patent infringement? Now Judah Klausner wants in on the action, brandishing a set of patents related to visual voicemail that have already won settlements from Apple and LG. Also included in the suit are Motorola and RIM.


The brunt of his attack is focused at HTC’s myTouch 3G, which Klausner claims makes use of his patented visual voicemail technology. However some carriers, such as Verizon, hold licensing agreements with Klausner, so devices like the Droid Incredible are free from persecution. HTC has not commented on the matter, but if Klausner’s history with other patent suits is any indicator, his claims have some legs. We’ll see how HTC responds as things move forward.

[via Reuters]

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  1. how about a link to his patents? i’d like to see what exactly he has patented… if you guys could throw some up later that’d be awesome :)

  2. The Visual VM app pictured above is a T-Mobile created application that will run on any Android phone, including the Cliq, CliqXT, etc… why is this dude sueing HTC over it?

  3. This is where the patent system fails. How the hell can you patent an idea. It’s one thing to be able to patent the implementation of an idea but said idea? They should scrap the whole thing and maybe keep algorithmic patents.

  4. @Will…I was thinking the same thing. Its T-Mo’s app.

    @kidphat – I agree the patent system is crap. I really don’t see what could possibly be patentend here.

  5. I am curious of why they are attacking just the MT3G. I have a Nexus One with said visual voice mail application. I honestly don’t understand this stupid nonsense, but having a list of the patents would be nice to look at.

  6. Wow! Google Voice!

  7. Patent trolls win one more battle, the consumer ends up paying for it, AGAIN. The patent system has been taken so far away from it’s original intent, it’s not even funny.

  8. I’m pretty sure you mean prosecution, not persecution.
    And this guy isn’t a patent troll, he’s some guy who came up with a good idea.

  9. I think I got it – I’ll file a patent for “The process of filing B.S. software/process patents”.

    That way, I can sue all of these companies for infringing on my patent when they apply for their crappy patents.

    I’ll make BILLIONS!!! (never mind, Apple probably already has that patent)

  10. Here is my take on the situation. I’m a software developer. I have a day job but I also do alot of consulting and contract work outside of my normal day job.

    I have built a Visual Voicemail application to fill a need on a voip platform that doesn’t current offer a visual voicemail portal.

    People say Judah Klausner is not a patent troll and that he legitamitely holds those patents. I agree.

    But he acts like a troll. I have repeatedly contacted him, his PR agent. There have been press releases sent out from large companies detailing my application.

    Aastra (large voip phone provider)

    He will not get in touch with me. He won’t get in touch until you start making money on it, and then he’ll sue you. The very definition of a troll.

    If he won’t respond to emails, or try to work with me on licensing his patent (which is all I want to do). What good is it? It’s his right, but in my opinion that is what a troll does, not someone interested in furthering innovation and taking his fair share for his patent.

    He only appears interested in talking to large companies, additionally emailing to the email addresses listed on his companies site, do no good. There is no response.

    That’s my 0.02 on who this guy is and what he cares about.

    Read more:

  11. @Covert I have linked to the patent in question below.

    “so that the user may selectively access the voice message associated with a given caller without having to listen to all preceding voice messages.”

  12. @andy
    (un)fortunately it doesn’t work like that.
    the fact that patent trolls already troll with patents means you can’t patent the “art” of patent trolling. (prior art)

  13. @kidphat – actually, a patent *is* primarily for protecting an inventor’s “ideas” (well, particularly an invention, but the invention was born from an idea, so the patent is actually written as a description of the idea that bore the invention). That’s why the patent is described “something that does this”, and “allows one to do that via a method similar to foo”. Because otherwise, one person could just look at an invention, and come up with their own way to accomplish the identical task in an identical way, and claim it as their own. For it not to violate a patent, it has to be a new invention, even if it means replacing a foo with a bar, as long as “bar” is not covered under the description of the patent’s “foo”.

  14. It’s also worth noting that most patents are termed for 20 years. Which means he only has 4 more years (it was filed in 1994) to cash in on that patent. After Feb 1, 2014, assuming there were no extensions, he’ll lose the exclusivity of the patent. Considering the patent talks about a telephone line, and using DTMF signals to “identify” the caller, it may already be out of date ;)

  15. I tend to think patents should not be enforceable unless the patent owner is using the patent in some way. Otherwise, people can just come up with ideas and squat waiting for someone to create the actual implementation, and then jump on them. That’s what is stupid about patents. If you arent using it, then you should lose it. (After all, you are not contributing anything to mankind by just creating the idea but never doing anything with it)

  16. I don’t care who you are. In my book if you patented something to the Federals then you are a troll in my book. No idea is truly your own. Other people gave you the knowledge to solve a problem, and every time you look at anything in the world it influences your thought.
    Can’t blame the USPTO people they are a bunch of idiots. The last time I contacted them it was like talking to a bunch of 3rd graders, and all I wanted to ask is where I should put my 9,000+ inventions up so they could easily look at them for prior art to keep others from patenting anything. I decided on starting a magazine which will contain some in each issue, and guess who is subscriber number 1. =) Freaks.

  17. I totally agree Brad.

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