Google, Verizon, others sued over voice mail patent

Patent holding company Klausner Technologies targets Google, Verizon, Cox, LG, and others in latest patent infringement lawsuit, bolstered by settlement wins in suits against Apple, AT&T.

Elinor Mills Former Staff Writer
Elinor Mills covers Internet security and privacy. She joined CNET News in 2005 after working as a foreign correspondent for Reuters in Portugal and writing for The Industry Standard, the IDG News Service and the Associated Press.
Elinor Mills
2 min read

A patent holding company that has won settlements from Apple, AT&T, and others sued Google, Verizon, and a handful of other companies on Tuesday for allegedly infringing on patents related to voice mail, according to a report from Reuters.

In addition to Google and Verizon, other defendants in the lawsuit filed by Klausner Technologies are: Cox Communications, LG Electronics, Comverse Technology, Embarq, PhoneFusion, RingCentral, and Grand Central, which was acquired by Google last year.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Tyler, Texas, alleges the companies are infringing his patents related to visual voice mail.

Representatives from Google, Cox, and PhoneFusion said they had not seen the lawsuit and declined to comment. An Embarq spokesman provided this e-mailed statement: "Embarq has not been served with any such lawsuit, but is confident that any claims that it has infringed on someone else's patent would be unfounded."

A Verizon spokeswoman provided this statement via e-mail: "We anticipated Klausner's action. We filed a declaratory judgment action in New York federal court on August 13. We are seeking a declaration that Klausner's visual voice mail patent is invalid and that Verizon's system does not infringe the patent in any event."

The other defendants were either working on getting comment or did not immediately return calls and e-mails seeking comment.

Klausner Technologies, a private company that holds several voice over IP patents, settled a lawsuit in June with Apple, which offers visual voice mail in its iPhone.

Klausner also settled with AT&T, eBay, which owns Skype, and Comcast, which agreed to a licensing deal as part of its settlement. The company remains in talks with Cablevision Systems, while Sprint Nextel signed a licensing deal and was not sued, Reuters reported.

Previously, Klausner sued and , and with Vonage last year. Terms of the settlements were not disclosed.

Klausner's lawsuit in December alleged that the defendants infringed on technology that visually alerts people when they get a new voice message and lets them selectively retrieve the messages.

Updated 1 p.m. PDT with Embarq comment, and 12:37 p.m. PDT with Verizon comment.

One of the patents at the core of Klausner's lawsuits over voice mail, which was attached as evidence in Verizon's filing for declaratory judgment. Klausner Technologies