Apple challenges VoIP-Pal's latest patent suit, claims asserted IP is invalid

Posted:
in General Discussion edited April 2020
Apple on Friday countered a renewed legal pursuit from VoIP-Pal, an entity that leverages voice over IP patents against larger technology firms, saying it does not infringe on the patent-in-suit and attests the property's claim are invalid.




In a complaint lodged with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Apple seeks to obtain a declaratory judgment stating non-infringement of a call and data routing patent owned by VoIP-Pal.

On Tuesday, VoIP-Pal filed suit against Apple in the Western District of Texas, alleging infringement of U.S. Patent No. No. 10,218,606 for "Producing routing messages for voice over IP communications." The entity is leveraging the same patent against Google, Facebook and Amazon in separately filed complaints.

As stated in the patent filing and VoIP-Pal's complaint against Apple, the IP, originally assigned to VoIP specialist Digifonica, is claimed to invent a digital solution to hinderances associated with call routing and communication handling. VoIP-Pal acquired Digifonica and its patent portfolio in 2013.

The '606 patent covers automatic call routing including user-specific calling styles, support of mass global styles of dialing, and facilitation of user identifiers like usernames across disparate networks. Apple's FaceTime and iMessage are named as accused instrumentalities in the suit.

According to today's counter from Apple, however, the company's products do not infringe the patent's two asserted claims, which note limitations "routing message" and "processing the second participant identifier and the at least one first participant attribute, using the at least one processor, to produce a new second participant identifier based on at least one match between the second participant identifier and the at least one first participant attribute."

Further, Apple asks the court to invalidate the '606 patent's functional claims. Apple argues claims recited in the published IP are identical or "very similar" to already-invalidated claims asserted in two prior VoIP-Pal complaints.

VoIP-Pal previously filed six lawsuits that, collectively, cited six patents related to the current '606 patent. Two of those cases were aimed at Apple, but were dismissed after they landed in California court.

California Judge Lucy Koh, who presided over both Apple-related cases, found all six leveraged patents were invalid for claiming ineligible subject matter. On appeal, the federal circuit confirmed Koh's decision in one case and is currently deliberating the other.

Apple is looking for a similar ruling in the immediate suit, saying the '606 patent is "directed to the abstract idea of routing a communication based on characteristics of the participants." Further, the IP fails to recite an inventive concept, Apple says, as they "recite generic computer components [...] that the specification admits were not invented by VoIP-Pal and that operate in their expected manner."

Apple asks the court to assign the case to Koh and seeks a declaration of non-infringement and invalidation of the '606 patent's claims.

gatorguy

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 3
    The key phrase here is: [Further, the IP fails to recite an inventive concept, Apple says, as they "recite generic computer components [ ] that the specification admits were not invented by VoIP-Pal and that operate in their expected manner."] Let's hope we see this more and more as time goes on. I frequently read these Patents declarations and see them as vague enough that they state nothing. I'm not sure if they state them this way in order to hide their real process, allow them to be used as "Gotcha devices" as they frequently are or are written purposely by non-engineers.
    seanismorrismdriftmeyerqwerty52mattinozlkruppchasmdavenwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 3
    davendaven Posts: 649member
    cjk91108 said:
    The key phrase here is: [Further, the IP fails to recite an inventive concept, Apple says, as they "recite generic computer components [ ] that the specification admits were not invented by VoIP-Pal and that operate in their expected manner."] Let's hope we see this more and more as time goes on. I frequently read these Patents declarations and see them as vague enough that they state nothing. I'm not sure if they state them this way in order to hide their real process, allow them to be used as "Gotcha devices" as they frequently are or are written purposely by non-engineers.
    I agree, but note that attorneys rewrite the patent submission as broadly as possible so as to broaden the scope of the patent. However, this one describes how networks already already worked and therefore there is nothing novel about the patent. Like patenting a number pad on a phone so you can readily access a specific user by dialing their unique numeric identifier and showing the caller’s unique identifier so the call receiver can decide wether to answer or not. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 3
    irnchrizirnchriz Posts: 1,609member
    They need to change the law so that if a company sues another and loses then they must pay all court costs of the party they sued.  That would shut a lot of these fishing expeditions down.
    watto_cobra
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