Lawsuit accuses Apple's iMessages of violating 2002 point-of-sale patent

Posted:
in General Discussion
A new patent infringement lawsuit accuses Apple and its iMessage service of violating a 15-year-old patent -- one related to the recording and playback of voice messages over a network.




A lawsuit filed at the Texas Eastern District Court from Seatoun Media claims Apple is infringing on a 2002 patent for part of a point-of-sale system, relating to the recording and playback of voice messages over a network.

The complaint from Seatoun Media centers around a patent entitled "Point to point voice message processor, method and recording/playback device," which describes a "voice message processor" that can pass messages between users of the POS system. An illustration included as part of the patent depicts a phone-like device that forms part of the POS terminal, for recording and message playback, with a "communication link" to transfer the messages between locations, such as between a checkout and a stock room or over a public network to a remote terminal.

The complaint alleges multiple claims of the patent apply to a number of Apple products, highlighting those equipped with iMessage or able to be used with other messaging software to be infringing. The "non-limiting" list in the complaint includes the iPhone 4 and later models, iPads, the iPod touch, and iMessage itself.

One example of infringement given by Seatoun Media is that consumers are "induced to use their iPhone 6 with iMessage to record and play voice messages through a communications link." Apple is accused of indirectly infringing the patent by "inducing the direct infringement by consumers," simply by allowing voice messages to be sent.

The complaint notes Apple was originally informed of the alleged infringement in October last year, and that its "ongoing infringement is willful." Damages are requested by Seatoun for the infringement, at the "maximum rate permitted by law," as well as attorney's fees.

Apple has yet to respond to the complaint.

The filing through the Texas Eastern district court is unsurprising, as the jurisdiction has been the venue for many patent battles in the past for Apple, in suits against both major competitors and non-practicing entities. In September, Apple failed to defend itself against VirnetX in a patent infringement suit over virtual private networking, costing Apple $302.4 million.

Seatoun Media vs Apple by MalcolmOwen on Scribd

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,300member
    We get to thinking that only Apple gets hit with this stuff but in reality every company on the planet has these lawsuits to deal with. Parasites are always on the lookout for a host to latch onto. In our little universe we only hear about the Apple lawsuits.
    edited January 2017 watto_cobraJdmr1701radarthekatsirlance99jbdragonjony0
  • Reply 2 of 12
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 2,007member
    Apple Voice Memos app can send voice message too. 
  • Reply 3 of 12
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 2,007member
    Voice Memo looks more like this patent than Messages app.
    jbdragon
  • Reply 4 of 12
    Eastern Disctrict of Texas - Check
    Prior Art - Check - I worked on a Voicemail System in the 1980's (Voicemmail International Inc) that could send voice messages to subscribers, one or more as a group.
    Patently Obvious - Check
    NPE ? I guess so. Who's heard of them before?

    This will result in Apple paying a lot of $$$ to the Court.

    propodradarthekat
  • Reply 5 of 12
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,095member
    oh geez. . .
    Another week and another patent infringement claim with almost no basis. Not a chance in Hades that the "inventor" ever considered a use in a messaging app. Dredging up old patents in the hope that some court and jury somewhere might be tricked into believing that the decade or older claims read on a new unanticipated technology. Gotta be a better way to deal with the silly ambulance-chasing via software patents. My thoughts? Dump most software patents as unpatentable material. 
    fracradarthekatjbdragon
  • Reply 6 of 12
    NemWanNemWan Posts: 117member
    This article uses the biased and loaded term 'non-practicing entities" instead of the preferred, objective term "patent trolls".
    magman1979SpamSandwichwatto_cobrabaconstangtokyojimujbdragonjony0
  • Reply 7 of 12
    fracfrac Posts: 480member
    gatorguy said:
    oh geez. . .
    Another week and another patent infringement claim with almost no basis. Not a chance in Hades that the "inventor" ever considered a use in a messaging app. Dredging up old patents in the hope that some court and jury somewhere might be tricked into believing that the decade or older claims read on a new unanticipated technology. Gotta be a better way to deal with the silly ambulance-chasing via software patents. My thoughts? Dump most software patents as unpatentable material. 
    Quite. I just wonder where the will to do something about it, will come from? Maybe the US system is beyond fixing. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 12
    NemWan said:
    This article uses the biased and loaded term 'non-practicing entities" instead of the preferred, objective term "patent trolls".
    "Strike that, reverse it."
    —Willy Wonka
  • Reply 9 of 12
    Incidentally, the incoming administration is far more likely to eliminate the ability of those suing over patent infringement matters to venue shop. East Texas will become a historical footnote soon if the Innovation Act passes (Rep. Goodlatte and Daryl Issa are connected to this).

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Innovation_Act
    edited January 2017 cldarlington1Jdmr1701
  • Reply 10 of 12
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,791member
    gatorguy said:
    Dump most software patents as unpatentable material. 
    Lots of software patents have been invalidated using the so-called Alice two-step process. The courts may find that an earlier patent is just an abstract idea and thus not patentable. In many cases they represent little more than functional descriptions of objectives, rather than inventive solutions, which seems to be the case with this lawsuit. Many times with these patent troll cases it is cheaper for Apple to settle out of court rather than to fight it, which makes many of us angry because it is so obvious that the case is without merit.
    jbdragon
  • Reply 11 of 12
    mtbnutmtbnut Posts: 195member
    This is one area in which I wish Trump would throw out some kneejerk tweet. 

    "Patent reform needed in USA. Currently very bad bad bad! I've got great, great ideas, know a lot of great patent people, the best. I'll create the best patent system the world has ever seen. Trolls, watch out!" 

    (As President, he'll get to exceed 140 characters.) 
    edited January 2017
  • Reply 12 of 12
    I think it's high time we round up these patent trolls and take them out... back and give them a little bit of Texas justice.
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