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.