Multiple Telecom Companies Sued For Patent Infringement

On Thursday in the Eastern District of Texas, IPCom Gmbh & Co. KG filed complaints against AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint for patent infringement alleging that the defendants infringed the patents-in-suit through messaging on their wireless networks.

The patents-in-suit are United States Patent Nos. 7,333,822 (the ’822 Patent); 10,382,909 (the ’909 Patent); 6,813,261 (the ’261 Patent); 7,006,463 (the ’463 Patent); 6,983,147 (the ’147 Patent); and 7,778,310 (the ’310 Patent). All patents relate to communications methods and wireless services, such as messaging, and also relate to stations, channels, transmitters, receivers, and cellular networks. As stated in the complaint, “(t)he Defendants operate one or more wireless telecommunications networks to provide wireless telecommunications services in the United States.”

For example, the ’822 patent describes “methods for transmitting messages in a mobile telecommunications network that can utilize two kinds of message services, such as: a short message service (‘SMS’) and a multimedia messaging service (‘MMS’).” Specifically, “(t)he claims relate to the sending of a dedicated MMS message using a short message of the SMS service, wherein the short message may include: a header portion, a data portion having an identification of a type of the dedicated MMS message, and also an identifier for indicating a presence of the dedicated MMS message in the data portion of the short message.” Furthermore, “(b)y using the short message to send the dedicated MMS notification message, the telecommunications network is able to dispense with the ‘overhead’ associated with ‘setting up a connection/session.’” Consequently, “by employing the claimed methods, no ‘additional signaling for transmitting notifications’ is required, and therefore network bandwidth and signaling resources are conserved.”

According to the plaintiff, AT&T’s “wireless services are provided by a wireless network comprising, in part, a network of base transceiver stations for communication with mobile wireless devices (e.g., customer handsets) over radio frequencies in compliance with certain industry standards.”  For instance, AT&T allegedly infringed the ’882 patent because it “also provides SMS and MMS services,” as covered in the patent. Specifically, “(t)o support these services, AT&T owns and operates Multimedia Messaging Service Centers (MMSCs) and other telecommunications equipment that conform to standards developed by the 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project) and the Open Mobile Alliance (‘OMA’).”  The plaintiff added that AT&T partners with other third-party providers, such as Ericsson and Mavenir for help with its network. According to the complaint, AT&T has infringed at least claims 1, 32, and 33 of the ’822 patent “by transmitting messages in its telecommunications networks using MMSCs and/or other telecommunications equipment that comply with, or implement in pertinent respects, the relevant industry 3GPP and OMA messaging standards.” For example, AT&T purportedly infringed by transmitting “MMS messages using wireless access protocol (‘WAP’) Push messages that include header and data portions that satisfy the claims.” IPCom asserted that despite being notified of its alleged infringement and asked to obtain a license, AT&T purportedly continued to infringe the asserted patents.

The allegations against AT&T are similar for its purported infringement of these communication messaging and network related patents. Additionally, the claims against Verizon and Sprint are similar to those against AT&T.

The plaintiff has sought for the court to adjudge that the defendants have infringed the patents-in-suit, an award for damages and royalties, pre- and post-judgment interest, an award for costs and fees, and other relief.

IPCom is represented by Dechert LLP.