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Another day, another lawsuit against Apple, so it seems — and on and on and on the story goes, right? When the Silicon Valley tech-giant will catch a break, nobody knows! But this case, in particular, is perhaps the most outrageous to have ever been levied against the Cupertino-company to date. Why is that? Well, the company in question — a little-known firm by the name of VoIP-Pal — is seeking damages to the dizzying tune of over $2.8 billion (yes, that’s “billion” with a B) as the result of Apple allegedly infringing on its patents.
The company, who owns nothing but the web domain VoIP-Pal.com in addition to a few patents related to “internet communications technologies,” has brought the whopping $2.8 billion lawsuit against Apple just recently — though the official press release was posted to the company’s website just yesterday.
“So,” you might be wondering, “how exactly did this VoIP-Pal come to their astute numerical value for calculating damages and infringement of intellectual property?”
Well, according to VoIP-Pal, the damages were determined primarily based on a 1.25% royalty rate, concerning ALL of Apple’s internet communications based protocols and products — such as iMessage and FaceTime — strictly in a historical context. The number, according to VoIP-Pal’s “historical assessment,” is broken down as follows: 55% of the value pertains to Apple’s iPhone, 35% pertaining to the iPad, and just 10% of the remaining value pertains to the Mac, specifically.
Ok, so wait, let’s back up a minute here. “What is VoIP-Pal?” you might be wondering. “And what are their allegations?” So, for starters, VoIP-Pal currently holds over a dozen patents — some of which have been issued, and others which are still pending — with the latter majority of them focused on “Voice-Over Internet Protocol technologies.”
Essentially, VoIP-Pal is alleging that Apple is, has, and will likely continue to infringe on some of these patents by way of certain products — such as the previously mentioned iMessage and FaceTime on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac products.
“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.”
Right… Well, apparently — though perhaps for obvious reasons — Apple isn’t particularly buying into these far-out allegations. VoIP-Pal, for its part, however, had submitted them to the court system earlier this year, nonetheless. Additionally, the little-known VoIP company alleges that it has been holding out-of-court conversations with Apple for quite some time, though it only decided, just recently, to bring the formal charges against the Silicon Valley tech-giant — despite “still being open” to the idea of “selling or licensing” its “vast and impressive” patent portfolio to Apple.
At least VoIP-Pal had the wherewithal to “set the record straight” — by indicating that the company “is not a patent troll.” Yet it is, just for the record, a company that currently does not generate a single dime of revenue, but still has the audacity to refer to itself as a “technical leader in the broadband VoIP market.”
Of course, as a company with “so much” to its name, Apple isn’t by any means the first corporation VoIP-Pal has filed similar patent infringement charges against. They’ve also gone after both AT&T and Verizon Wireless — in the exact same U.S. District Court in Las Vegas, Nevada, of all places.
I guess we’ll have to see what ultimately happens with this outrageous case, but I do believe that, whatever VoIP-Pal is able to get away with, if anything, it certainly won’t be $2.8 billion.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments!