Apple sued for patent infringement involving its iMessage service/app

Another day, another lawsuit. Apple is being sued for, as usual, patent infringement by a company called Seatoun Media. In a lawsuit filed in the lawsuit-friendly Texas Eastern District Court, the company claims Apple’s iMessage service/app violates a 15-year-old patent for recording and playing back voice messages over a network, reports AppleInsider.

It involves patent number 6,356,626 for “point to point voice message processor, method and recording/playback device.” Here’s the summary of the patent: “A voice message processor is disclosed for producing remote voice recordings in a decentralized, non-networked environment. Connections are provided for a communication link capable of transmitting and receiving calls over a public communication network, for a telephone set, and for a recordable voice message recording/playback device. 

“A switching device provides a first state in which the telephone set connection and communication link connection are connected together, a second state in which the voice message recording/playback device input is connected to the communication link connection, and a third state in which the voice message recording/playback device output is connected to the communication link connection. A controller enable the voice message recording/playback device to be selectively recorded and played back when the switching device is in its second state and enables the voice message recording/playback device to be selectively played back when the switching device is in its third state.”

Seatoun Media argues multiple claims of the patent apply to a number of Apple products, highlighting those equipped with iMessage or able to be used with other messaging software to be infringing. The "non-limiting" list in the complaint includes the iPhone 4 and later models, iPads, the iPod touch, and iMessage itself.