updated 11:05 am EDT, Thu April 5, 2007
Hop-On MP3 Phone Patent
Cellphone designer Hop-On may create trouble for the music phone industry, according to a patent the company has received today. The company said it had been granted a patent that covered MP3 phones with speakers on the sides as well as control buttons -- effectively applying the patent to virtually every flip-phone with music abilities released in the US over recent years. The company was aware of this and hoped to profit at the expense of other cellphone makers by collecting royalties from the "millions" of past and future designs touched by the patent, the announcement said.
Such patents could drive up the prices of phones of Motorola and other cellphone makers that operate in the US, forcing them to pay a small fee for every phone or else face legal action. Cellphone service providers and even the retailers would also have to pay their own royalties, Hop-On said. No mention was made of slider phones and other designs that might be affected.