Klausner Technologies: The new NTP?

Klausner Technologies: The new NTP?

Summary: Klausner Technologies, a company founded by Judah Klausner who invented the PDA, is suing Apple, AT&T over iPhone's visual voicemail patents. For good measure Klausner is suing Comcast, Cablevision and eBay's Skype.

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Klausner Technologies, a company founded by Judah Klausner who invented the PDA, is suing Apple, AT&T over iPhone's visual voicemail patents. For good measure Klausner is suing Comcast, Cablevision and eBay's Skype.

Sound familiar?

It should Klausner almost sounds like NTP, which sued Research in Motion and won a patent infringement suit for a cool $612.5 million. If it worked for NTP it's really hard to blame Klausner for giving the court system a go. After all, Klausner already settled with Time Warner's AOL and Vonage.

The patents in question are U.S. Patent 5,572,576 and 5,283,818.

First up, Apple.

Klausner says it wants damages and future royalties of about $360 million from Apple. In a statement Monday Klausner says:

Klausner Technologies was founded by Judah Klausner, the inventor of the PDA and electronic organizer. Apple’s original groundbreaking PDA, the Newton, was, in fact, covered under an OEM patent license granted by Judah Klausner over twenty years ago under his landmark US Patent 4,117,542.

The iPhone violates Klausner’s intellectual property rights by allowing users to selectively retrieve voice messages via the iPhone’s inbox display. Apple has called iPhone’s Visual Voicemail “one of the greatest advances in the history of mankind ... without question.”

Cut and paste that lawsuit and then run over to AT&T for another $360 million. After all, AT&T is selling the iPhone.

Klausner is also seeking $300 million in damages and future royalties from Comcast, Cablevision and eBay.

In a statement, Klausner says:

Cablevision’s Optimum Voicemail, Comcast’s Digital Voice Voicemail and eBay’s Skype Voicemail each violate Klausner’s intellectual property rights by allowing users to selectively retrieve and listen to voice messages via message inbox displays.

Best excerpt:

The suit has been filed by the California law firm of Dovel & Luner in a federal court in the Eastern District of Texas. “We have litigated this patent successfully on two prior occasions, said Greg Dovel of Dovel & Luner, counsel for Klausner Technologies. "With the signing of each new licensee, we continue to receive further confirmation of the strength of our visual voicemail patents.”

Translation: Hey it worked twice already why not extract more cash. These things add up.

Topics: Mobility, Apple, E-Commerce, Enterprise Software, Hardware, iPhone, Legal, AT&T

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22 comments
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  • 20 years?

    Doesn't that mean it's expired?
    BitTwiddler
    • Greed never expires (NT)

      .
      DarthRidiculous
    • Nope.

      Not if they added anything and refiled.
      No_Ax_to_Grind
      • Correct, unfortunately

        I seem to recall that the practice of patent expansion and refiling (on the part of Polaroid) is what killed the Kodak Instant Camera.
        John L. Ries
        • Polaroid vs Kodak

          My aging memory cells seem to recollect that Kodak had a contract to maufacture film packs for Polaroid and while doing so ripped off Dr. Land's processes and intellectual property.

          First Kodak lost an infingement case in England then later here in the USA.

          Caught with fingers in the cookie jar?

          Terry
          AtlantaTerry
  • Sue Apple for all it is worth!!

    Apple deserves to get back what it has inflicted on so many others. Sue 'em into bankruptcy!

    [i]Apple has called iPhone???s Visual Voicemail "one of the greatest advances in the history of mankind ??? without question."[/i]

    Yeah, Visual Voicemail ranks above advances like the wheel and a host of medical achievements. Remember folks, if Apple didn't "invent it", it never existed. Of course, Apple's definition of "invent" is: [i]something that has existed before but only just got an Apple logo slapped on it[/i].

    Good luck with your lawsuit Klausner, I hope you win.
    NonZealot
    • Purely partisan comment?

      Am I correct that if the lawsuit had been against a company you admire (but we won't mention any names), that you would not be in favor of the plaintiff?
      John L. Ries
  • Patents can be renewed...

    ...tweaked, extended, etc.

    Isn't "visual voicemail" really just "audio email"?
    Eriamjh
    • another day, another lawsuit. who cares? NT

      NT
      sos10
  • why I don't see M$ among infringers?

    M$ should have been the primary target since they are the most important offender.
    Linux Geek
    • S.U.F.

      You are not even worth the effort of typing the entire word
      GuidingLight
    • 'Splain LUCY...

      How can Microsoft be an offender in a case where they haven't infringed on the patents in question?

      Oh.. I get it - anyone sues - they need to sue Microsoft.

      Bloody TROLL.
      Wolfie2K3
  • 2008:My money is on Consilient Push

    Works 'bantastico' on my Nokia N95 and open standard Push-IMAP.
    You'll see alot of phones in 2008 sporting [url=http://www.consilient.com]Consilient Push![/url]

    No patent worries here. ;)
    D T Schmitz
  • What the....?

    He seriously has a patent that covers "allowing users to selectively retrieve and listen to voice messages via message inbox displays."

    give me a break... whats up with the patent system. He took an idea from email, changed words to voice mail, and got a patent on doing the same thing... an inbox to let you select which to see/hear? so anyone not paying him money he claims has to have messaged played back in a certain order? the order they were recorded? someone ese probably has that patent. Maybe in a random order... nope, probably a patent on that also.

    You should not be able to patent common sense. its common sense to have multiple messages, see a list of the messages, and look at the message you choose to look at... that was used with paper messages when phones were brand new way before computers.
    doh123
    • If it was that simple . . .

      Hahaha! How easy it is to comment without actually knowing what you are talking about!!! Patent protection is not about what the patent says, it is about about what it [b]claims[/b]

      The first claim of the original Klausner patent reads:
      "[i]An electronic pocket directory comprising a case of a size and shape to fit in a user's pocket and to be held by one hand during use, a keyboard on said case comprising alphanumeric keys for numerals 1 to 0 and letters A to Z and function keys, alphanumeric display means in said case with a capacity of at least 10 letters or numbers, read-write memory circuit means in said case for storing and retrieving data items comprising persons' telephone numbers and street addresses, said memory circuit means having a capacity for storing a plurality of such data items under each of a multiplicity of persons' names as memory addresses, storing means controlled by said alphanumeric keys and said function keys for feeding to said memory circuit means said data items comprising telephone numbers and street addresses to be stored and for identifying the persons' names under which said items are to be stored, retrieving means controlled by said alphanumeric keys and said function keys for retrieving said data items stored by said memory circuit means including means for designating the name of the person under which the desired data items are stored and for displaying by display means said name and said data items stored under the designated name.[/i]"

      Tell me who, back in mid 1977, would have thought of that?

      I don't know, it seems to me that the guy DID invented the PDA.

      NOW, as to the validity of the newly filed suit, well . . .we'll see.
      ismael.negron
      • Hmmm ... no keyboard on iPhone

        The PDA as described by Ismael dates at least to the
        1960s, and is pretty close to Alan Kay's Dynabook. I'm
        pretty sure it was thought of a lot. Once hand-held
        calculators came on the scene plenty of applications
        were built including alpha numeric keys prior to 1977. I
        built a handheld computer of sorts around 1978/9
        based on an RCA 1802 chip, a 2kbyte cmos ram chip, a
        Federal Screw Works speech synthesis module and some
        leds for output and a pad of 8 etched PC board elements
        that was written on (as in handwriting) using a stylus. I'm
        pretty sure this was not my idea in the sense it was
        inspired by the tricorder of Star Trek fame, and some
        other science fiction print. So Klausner does have the
        patent, but it looks more like harvesting than
        imagination. Maybe something todays readers of SciFi
        should take note of ... who can get to the patent office
        first with the invention of the hand held quantum
        computer.

        Interestingly, the claims by are made by Klausner with
        respect to a keyboard. Does a virtual keyboard like the
        iPhone count since the claim specifically indicates that
        keys are located on the case.
        mdfischer
  • RE: Klausner Technologies: The new NTP?

    Maybe the patent holder of those "Whie You Were Out" pads should sue Klausner.

    After all the pad were visual and allowed the user to select information in random order...

    :-)

    Terry
    AtlantaTerry
  • So...?

    If Klausner Technologies does indeed hold the rights to this technology then they indeed deserve to receive some of the profit gained from the usage of said technology. Not sure what this is all about... :-/

    - John Musbach
    John Musbach
  • RE: Klausner Technologies: The new NTP?

    The patents don't apply. The iphone is not a TAD (a telephone answering device). If you interpret the patent literally, the TAD is an external device which answers the telephone. An iphone is not an external device connected to a telephone. Further, callers do not enter DTMF signals into the device, in fact callers take no action to assist in their identification.

    The patent also does not accurately anticipate the ability of cell-phone devices to record directly the phone number the caller originates from, which a feature independent of the visual voice mail.
    cyberpunk1
  • RE: Klausner Technologies: The new NTP?

    The patent can be invalidated based on its obviousness.
    It processes voice message in the same way as people process a book list, a name list, or an email list, methods publicly available at the time of the "invention". Apple should not pay.
    yypmsz