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You won't believe these two Patents Apple iPhone is getting sued over

Klausner Technologies has just filed a $360 million patent infringement lawsuit against Apple for the Visual Voicemail feature in the iPhone.As Apple notes on this page, Visual Voicemail allows you to go directly to any of your messages without listening to the prior messages.
Written by Russell Shaw, Contributor

Klausner Technologies has just filed a $360 million patent infringement lawsuit against Apple for the Visual Voicemail

feature in the iPhone.

As Apple notes on this page, Visual Voicemail allows you to go directly to any of your messages without listening to the prior messages. So you can quickly select the messages that are most important to you.

I've read both of the contested Patents, and I am getting back to you with details and my opinions.

Bearing the title of Telephone answering device linking displayed data with recorded audio message, Patent# 5,572,576 (granted in 1996) specifies:

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.

And now we move on to the older of these two contested patents. U.S. Patent #5,283,818, also with the title of title of Telephone answering device linking displayed data with recorded audio message.

The Abstract for this 1994 Patent says the technology covered under this patent is:

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.

I'm no patent attorney or judge, but these patents sound overly general to me.

To you?

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