Apple faces $360m voicemail bill

Klausner Technologies has filed a $360 million suit against Apple and AT&T over voicemail patents that the company claims the iPhone infringes.

Apple faces $360m voicemail bill

New York-based Klausner says the lawsuit also names Comcast, Cablevision Systems and Ebay’s Skype as infringing its patent for “visual voicemail”. The plaintiff seeks an additional $300 million from the three.

The iPhone’s visual voicemail is just one of the standout features of the handset, which has won critical acclaim and huge sales success in the US, although appears to be struggling to repeat that feat in the UK.

Klausner has filed the lawsuit in a US Court for the Eastern District of Texas. The suit alleges the defendants’ internet-based voicemail products and services violate a Klausner patent.

The complaint involves US patent 5,572,576, the same one at issue in a suit Klausner filed in 2006 against VoIP provider Vonage. The two sides agreed to settle that earlier case in October 2007, according a spokesman for Klausner.

Vonage is now a licensee of Klausner’s voicemail technology for its Vonage Voicemail Plus service, as is AOL.

An Apple spokeswoman says the company does not comment on pending litigation.

EBay spokesman Hani Durzy says his company has not received the suit and would not comment until its lawyers have seen it. Cablevision also declined to comment.

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