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Google, LG settle visual voicemail patent disputes

updated 01:15 pm EDT, Tue March 10, 2009

V. voicemail settlements

Two more parties have entered into legal settlements involving visual voicemail, Reuters observes. Though predominately associated with Apple and the iPhone, the technology -- which allows people to listen to voice messages selectively -- is said to have been patented by Judah Klausner, who has in turn sued and settled with parties such as Apple, Skype and Verizon. Among the latest companies to settle is LG, which today entered into an arrangement with Klausner Technologies, in which it will license visual voicemail for phones such as the current Versa.

The most significant of the new settlements may involve Google however, which has likewise agreed to license Klausner patents. Under the terms of the settlement the Klausner lawsuit has been dismissed with prejudice, blocking either side in the confrontation from actions based on specific patent complaints. Licensing is expected to apply mainly to Google's Android platform, used in phones like the G1, and GrandCentral, a service with similar functionality.

Klausner has meanwhile announced an amicable agreement with T-Mobile, unprompted by any legal action. The latter has licensed visual voicemail for use in 17 European countries, a necessary step in the launch of a new service. "We want to offer what currently has a working title of 'visual mobile box' to all our customers," according to a T-Mobile spokesman, "not just those using the iPhone, for example."

Visual mobile box service is expected to begin in Germany before the second half of the year, supported on any phone with capable hardware.

by MacNN Staff



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