Apple sued by patent-licensing company over Facetime and iMessage

How to make a FaceTime call on iPhone, iPad, or Mac
How to make a FaceTime call on iPhone, iPad, or Mac (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple is being sued over FaceTime and iMessage.
  • VoIP-Pal says that Apple's technology infringes on a patent it holds.
  • The patent relates to call routing and handling.

Apple is being sued by a company called VoIP-Pal, over claims that iMessage and FaceTime infringe on one of its patents.

As reported by AppleInsider:

VoIP-Pal, which brandishes a portfolio of voice-over IP-related patents, on Tuesday filed a new lawsuit against Apple, claiming the company's FaceTime and iMessage infringe on a single patent covering call routing and handling.Lodged with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, VoIP-Pal's suit hinges on a patent detailing methods of seamlessly integrating IP-based calls with external networks like a public switched telephone network (PTSN).Developed by Digifonica and protected in 2019 as U.S. Patent No. 10,218,606 for "Producing routing messages for voice over IP communications," the invention overcomes hindrances associated with call routing and communication handling. VoIP-Pal acquired Digifonica and its patent stash in 2013.

According to the report, the patent relates to call routing and communication handling:

The '606 patent covers user-specific calling styles or more specifically dispensing with network classification criteria when routing a call. The computer-based technology supports numerous global styles of dialing and facilitates institution of user identifiers like usernames across networks.Further, the IP allows for routing transparency. Using callee identifiers, the system automatically routes a call over a network or node to an external network, like a PTSN, through a gateway.

As is usual with this sort of case, it seems that VoIP-Pal is merely a licensing company. That means that it doesn't make any of its own products or services, but rather makes money by licensing patents to other companies, or suing those which it claims use the technology without permission. The company has had two previous suits against Apple dismissed in court. As per, the suit seeks a swathe of cash for VoIP'Pal's 'troubles'.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9