Verizon and T-Mobile Sued For Infringing Wi-Fi Calling Patent

Plaintiff KAIFI LLC, a self-described “intellectual property consulting company that promotes and manages intellectual property directed to telecommunications technologies,” filed complaints against Verizon, T-Mobile and other related entities for patent infringement on Friday in the Eastern District of Texas over their alleged use of Wi-Fi calling technology.

The patent-in-suit is United States Patent No. 6,922,728 (the ʼ728 patent), “Optimal Internet Network Connecting and Roaming System and Method Adapted for User Moving Outdoors or Indoors.” The ’728 patent is “directed to an Internet network connecting and roaming system and method.” Specifically, “with the patented invention, voice and data communications may be seamlessly transitioned to a Wi-Fi network from an LTE network.” The plaintiff claimed that this “reduces load and congestion on cellular networks, reduces network costs, and increases voice and data communication coverage quality and range.”

KAIFI averred that Verizon and T-Mobile adopted this patented technology to “enable seameless (sic) voice and data communication services, including Defendants’ Wi-Fi calling” and other services. The plaintiff noted that Verizon began offering Wi-Fi calling in 2015. Verizon stated that its customers could “make and receive calls and initiate video calls over a Wi-Fi Internet connection…Once Advanced Calling is enabled, customers can activate Wi-Fi Calling.” T-Mobile allegedly made similar claims about its Wi-Fi Calling. According to Verizon, the call experience should be the same, except carried out over a Wi-Fi connection instead of a cellular connection. For example, “(i)f you have a Wi-Fi connection and are in an area where voice service is weak or unavailable, use Wi-Fi calling to continue making voice calls.” KAIFI alleged that Verizon’s and T-Mobile’s accused instrumentalities include “systems, networks, and components and services thereto used and controlled by Defendants for implementing seamless network transition, including off-loading to a Wi-Fi network, such as through their Wi-Fi Calling system and service, and include both native and third-party, over the top (OTT) voice and data applications,” which can be used to make a Wi-Fi call.   

Specifically, Verizon is accused of infringing at least claim 1 of the patent-in-suit through its instrumentalities that include a wireless network, user mobile device, Wi-Fi Calling service, internet service, etc. to make the Wi-Fi call possible. The plaintiff proffered that Verizon utilized the patented technology to provide its Wi-Fi Calling service. As previously mentioned, a user can switch between a Wi-Fi and an Advanced Calling call. As described in the patent, Verizon’s Wi-Fi Calling service is comprised of a “data communication terminal,” namely, a mobile device that can connect to both Wi-Fi and a cellular network and stores both of the connecting information in the device, which can be evidenced through Auto Join, whereby the device recognizes the Wi-Fi network and auto joins said network. Verizon’s Wi-Fi Calling system also use an “indoor gateway,” which “may be any Wi-Fi access point, to connect to a Wi-Fi network and the internet via a wire, such as a…router, modem, or ‘hotspot.’” This helps to connect the phone to the Wi-Fi, thus allowing an individual to make a Wi-Fi call. Verizon’s Wi-Fi Calling system also allegedly takes advantage of location data to recognize and use networks, as described in the patent. Thus, by using the patented system to create and allow users to have Wi-Fi Calling, Verizon has purportedly infringed the ’728 patent. The allegations against T-Mobile are similar to the claims against Verizon.

The plaintiff claimed that the defendants were notified of their infringement, but continue to infringe the ’728 patent in addition to not obtaining a license for this patent. KAIFI charged the defendants with direct, indirect and induced infringement.

KAIFI has sought declaratory judgment in its favor, an award for monetary relief, for the defendants to pay ongoing royalties, to enjoin defendants from further infringement, and other relief. The plaintiff is represented by Parker, Bunt & Ainsworth PC and LTL Attorneys LLP.