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ClassCo sues Apple, HTC, RIM, Samsung over caller ID patents

updated 11:25 am EDT, Thu September 8, 2011

ClassCo claims patent violations

ClassCo sought to profit off of the cellphone industry Thursday with a lawsuit (below) accusing larger smartphone makers of allegedly violating patents for caller ID. The suit claims that Apple, HP (as Palm), HTC, Huawei, LG, RIM, Samsung, and ZTE all supposedly violate two patents for a "calling party announcement apparatus." Just having a phone like the BlackBerry or iPhone that identifies who's calling is an infringement on the patents, ClassCo argues.

As with most such lawsuits, ClassCo asks about a possible injunction banning anything infringing but is primarily in court to seek a "reasonable" royalty on the patents.

ClassCo is rare among companies of its sort in having an actual product to offer related to the patent dispute in question. Its VoiceAnnounce both provides the caller ID on a small screen but also has the caller's name or number spoken out. Its lawsuit was also filed in Delaware, a lawsuit-friendly state but different from the Eastern District of Texas courts used by patent trolls.

The company nonetheless makes it clear that it's potentially eager for lawsuits. It tells visitors almost immediately that its lineup is patented. In supporting landline phones, ClassCo is also supporting a dying technology and will soon have little business. The hardware is great for "senior citizens and children at home," according to the company, acknowledging that most adults and teens use cellphones.

ClassCo vs. Apple, HTC et. al.

By Electronista Staff


  1. c. haynes

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2002



    Is it really necessary to report every lawsuit filed against Apple? We know that when you have a lot of money in the bank everybody and their little brother is going to want some of it. It's not really news, is it?

    Comment buried. Show
  1. lysolman

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2005



    f*** Bill Clinton.

  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Jan 2007


    Nothing like a

    timely and vigorous defense of your IP, ClassCo.

    Yes. This is nothing like that.

  1. bitwrangler

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2010


    @c. haynes

    Actually I think in this case it's warranted (and no, not _every_ lawsuit is reported here). This is a pretty far reaching lawsuit that can affect everybody who sells a phone that utilizes some form of caller id. I haven't read the patent, but it would be interesting to see if it applies to literally caller id (grabbing the caller information off the line) or any device that can discern the caller given some type of information (i.e. matching a phone number against an internal contacts db). If it's the former, then this can probably be circumvented, if it's the latter (and the patent holds up), then it looks like ClassCo could have a nice windfall headed their way.

  1. Eriamjh

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: Oct 2001


    They patented that?

    Funny. My brain converted phone numbers to names before any device ever did. I'd call pulling the names from a db of numbers intuitively obvious and unpatentable.

    Sure, the speaking of the names and numbers is a great patent. But my phone doesn't do that when I get a call.

  1. Athens

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: Jan 2003


    Nice Change

    Its a nice change to see one from a company with a real product with a real complaint, unlike the trolls out there that just sue for the sake of suing.

  1. BigMac2

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Dec 2000



    Wow, caller ID device has been around for at least 20 years now. Over time I've used many phones, devices and software that do exactly the same things, It should have enough prior art to reject this non-sense patent.

  1. lochias

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2009


    Why relevant?

    There patents are both about synthesizing caller ID data as human speech. Does an iPhone do that?

  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Jan 2007


    I think it can, but

    I don't have a need for voiceover type functionality...

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