Apple Hit With $2.8 Billion Patent Lawsuit Over VoIP Technology

iMessage-duoVoIP-Pal announced today that it has filed a lawsuit against Apple in a U.S. District Court in Las Vegas, Nevada, seeking over $2.8 billion in damages for alleged infringement of its patented internet communication technologies.

The Bellevue-based company calculated its $2,836,710,031 figure using a 1.25-percent royalty rate based on an apportionment of Apple's estimated historical profit from iPhone (55-percent), iPad (35-percent), and Mac (10-percent).

VoIP-Pal (VPLM) has over a dozen issued or pending patents, primarily related to VoIP technologies, a few of which it accuses Apple of infringing upon with services like FaceTime and iMessage on iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

Apple employs VPLM’s innovative technology and products, features, and designs, and has widely distributed infringing products that have undermined VPLM’s marketing efforts. Instead of pursuing independent product development, Apple employed VPLM’s innovative caller attribute classification and routing product design, in violation of VPLM’s valuable intellectual property rights.

The court filing cites multiple ways that Apple is allegedly infringing upon the patents, including the following iMessage claim:

In particular, devices running the iMessage application initiate a communication between a caller and a callee. The callee may be an Apple subscriber or a non-subscriber. In the case that the callee is an Apple subscriber, the communication is sent using iMessage. On the other hand, if the user is not an Apple subscriber or if iMessage is not available, the communication is sent using SMS/MMS. Apple’s messaging system directly and/or indirectly practices certain claims of the ‘815 patent in order to determine the classification of a user, and, subsequently, how the call should be routed.

The lawsuit was originally initiated on February 9, but VoIP-Pal delayed pursuing legal action until Monday as the company says it remains engaged in discussions with Apple outside the courtroom regarding an amicable resolution. The company appears to be open to a sale or licensing of its patent portfolio.

"We are confident the current good will on both sides will result in a favorable outcome for all parties involved," said Emil Malak, CEO of VoIP-Pal.

VoIP-Pal, which acquired network operator Digifonica in 2013, describes itself as "a technical leader in the broadband VoIP market." The company does not currently generate income, but insists it is "absolutely not" a patent troll, noting that Digifonica began designing its system back in 2004.

We designed, built and tested super-nodes and nodes in Canada, England, and Norway, spending more than $17 million on development and execution in the process. At one time, we had more than twenty (20) engineers working on the software design and implementation. […]

Due to the Great Recession in the mid 2000’s, Digifonica was unable to continue supporting the platform, while it was continuing its significant investment in protecting the intellectual property it had developed. […]

The infringing companies are making billions of dollars using technology that were conceived, designed, built, tested and patented by Digifonica.

VoIP-Pal has filed similar lawsuits against AT&T and Verizon in Las Vegas court.

Top Rated Comments

Patriot24 Avatar
63 months ago
A good practice litigation for Apple's Junior lawyers division
I had conceived, designed, and tested a variation of that joke in another thread a few years ago. Nobody laughed or liked the post, but I'm going to go ahead and sue you for joke infringement.

I'd be happy to settle. Just send me one of those new MacBooks and we'll call this thing even.
Score: 49 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Steve121178 Avatar
63 months ago
The entire patent system needs to be reviewed. The things some companies have been awarded patents for is ridiculous.
Score: 45 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sputnikv Avatar
63 months ago
they say they're not, but they most definately sound like patent trolls
Score: 43 Votes (Like | Disagree)
marmiteturkey Avatar
63 months ago




VoIP-Pal, which acquired network operator Digifonica in 2013, describes itself as "a technical leader in the broadband VoIP market." The company does not currently generate income, but insists it is "absolutely not" a patent troll ('http://media.wix.com/ugd/768c4e_c10cb778efe14a5091ad537ee9360f92.pdf'), noting that Digifonica began designing its system back in 2004.VoIP-Pal has filed similar lawsuits against AT&T and Verizon in Las Vegas court.

This is pretty much the textbook definition of a patent troll - company acquires other company for patents, does not make a product, and then starts suing others for patent infringement.
Score: 32 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Shanesan Avatar
63 months ago
Patenting a way for a computer to detect whether a device is registered with a central server or not?

Well blow me down, what a billion dollar idea.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mistasopz Avatar
63 months ago
Patenting a way for a computer to detect whether a device is registered with a central server or not?

Well blow me down, what a billion dollar idea.
Not much better than Apple patenting slide to unlock, page turning, and pinch to zoom...
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

apple transfer google photos 1

Apple Launches Service for Transferring iCloud Photos and Videos to Google Photos

Wednesday March 3, 2021 12:04 pm PST by
Apple this week introduced a new service that's designed to make it quick and easy for iCloud users to transfer their stored photos and videos to Google Photos. As outlined in an Apple support document, you can go to Apple's privacy website and sign in to see the "Transfer a copy of your data" option. If you select this and go through all the steps, Apple will transfer your iCloud photos and ...
PIA23764 RoverNamePlateonMars web

NASA Mars Perseverance Rover Uses Same PowerPC Chipset Found in 1998 G3 iMac

Tuesday March 2, 2021 3:21 am PST by
NASA's Perseverance rover, which recently made history landing on the surface of Mars, is powered by the same processor used in an iMac more than 23 years old. Image Credit: NASA As reported by NewScientist (via Gizmodo), the rover includes the PowerPC 750 processor, the same chip used in the G3 iMac in 1998. The main chipset is the same; however, there are differences between the...
rosetta 2

Rosetta May Be Removed From M1 Macs in Some Regions on macOS 11.3

Tuesday March 2, 2021 5:20 pm PST by
Installing the upcoming macOS 11.3 software update on an M1 Mac may result in Rosetta 2 being removed in one or more regions around the world. In the third beta of macOS 11.3 seeded to developers for testing today, MacRumors contributor Steve Moser uncovered new strings in the beta's code indicating that "Rosetta will be removed upon installing this update." Another new string reads "Rosetta ...
iphone 6 in hand

Apple Faces Another iPhone Lawsuit Over 'Programmed Obsolescence'

Monday March 1, 2021 6:44 am PST by
Apple faces a new class-action lawsuit that accuses it of deliberately releasing iOS updates that slowly reduce the performance of an iPhone, forcing customers to upgrade their devices. The lawsuit comes from the Portuguese Consumer Protection Agency, Deco Proteste (via Marketeer), which in a statement says that it will proceed with a case against the Cupertino tech giant because it...
magsafe charging brick feature

Prosser: iPhone 12 MagSafe Battery Pack to Feature Reverse Charging

Monday March 1, 2021 1:18 pm PST by
Apple is working on MagSafe-compatible battery packs that will be compatible with the iPhone 12 models, and leaker Jon Prosser today said on the Genius Bar podcast that one version of the battery pack will feature "reverse charging." According to Prosser, Apple is working on two versions of the battery packs, one that's a standard version and one that's a premium version with reverse...
Screen Shot 2021 03 03 at 11

MagSafe Charging Port for iPhone Appears in Apple Patent

Wednesday March 3, 2021 1:30 am PST by
In a newly granted patent, Apple envisions a type of connectivity port using an iteration of its magnetic MagSafe charger to charge an iPhone, potentially paving the way for a future without Lightning. Submitted to the United States Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday (via Patently Apple), the patent outlines a three-pinned MagSafe charger, similar to the ones found in older MacBook...
Apple Prefer Lightning Over USB C Feature

iPhone Sticking With Lightning Port Over USB-C for 'Foreseeable Future'

Tuesday March 2, 2021 9:32 am PST by
Apple will retain the Lightning connector on the iPhone for the "foreseeable future," with no intention of switching to USB-C, according to reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In spite of much of the industry moving toward USB-C, Apple will not be using it to replace the Lightning connector on the iPhone 13, or indeed on any iPhone model for the time being. In a note seen by MacRumors yesterday,...
iPad mini pro feature

Sketchy Rumor Claims 'iPad Mini Pro' Launching in Second Half of 2021

Wednesday March 3, 2021 3:04 am PST by
Apple is expected to launch a sixth-generation iPad mini in the first half of 2021, possibly as soon as this March, based on long-standing rumors. However, a new rumor out of Asia that has gained traction in the last 24 hours suggests an "iPad mini Pro" will arrive in the second half of this year. According to a post on Korean blog Naver, whose rumor track record is unknown, the device...
apple pencil 3 leak

New Apple Pencil Allegedly Leaks With Glossy Finish and Redesigned Tip

Wednesday March 3, 2021 6:17 am PST by
Images supposedly depicting a third-generation Apple Pencil have been shared on Twitter by the leaker known as "Mr. White." The purported new Apple Pencil appears to share a very similar design to the current, second-generation Apple Pencil, which is shorter than the previous version and charges inductively on the side of an iPad. The updated Apple Pencil appears to have a glossy...
apple watch ecg wrist

Apple Watch ECG Feature Gets Approved in Australia

Wednesday March 3, 2021 2:07 am PST by
The Australian government has approved ECG functionality on the Apple Watch, giving Apple the all-clear to launch the feature for Apple Watch users in the country, according to a regulatory document first spotted by The 8-Bit. Earlier last month, the Apple Watch's irregular heart rhythm notification received approval in Australia, although ECG did not. Irregular heart rhythm is a feature...