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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Texas company accuses Apple of infringing patents for undeliverable messages

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Nov 24, 2014

MARSHALL, Texas (Legal Newsline) - A Texas-based wireless communications company last week sued Apple Inc. for allegedly infringing on two of its patents for technology related to transmitting and storing undeliverable text and email messages.

Mobile Telecommunication Technologies Corp., or MTEL Corp., filed its 10-page complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas Wednesday.


According to the filing, MTEL is based in Lewisville, Texas; however, a website could not be found for the company.


MTEL, which owns and controls a portfolio of patents developed by it and related entities Destineer and SkyTel Communications, claims Apple is infringing on U.S. Patent Nos. 5,809,428 and 5,754,946.


The ‘428 patent, titled “Method and Device for Processing Undelivered Data Messages in a Two-Way Wireless Communications System,” describes and claims, among other things, methods, systems and devices for storing undeliverable messages, such as email and SMS. MTEL said it was issued the patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in September 1998.


The ‘946 patent, titled “Nationwide Communication System,” describes and claims devices and networks that provide for the transmission of unreceived portions of a message. MTEL said the PTO issued it the patent in May 1998.


“Apple’s infringement of the ‘428 and ‘946 Patents is willful, intentional, and in conscious disregard of MTEL’s rights under the patent,” lawyers for MTEL wrote. “Apple’s continued willful infringement has caused and will continue to cause MTEL irreparable harm by, among other things, exploiting MTEL’s exclusive property without authorization.”


In its complaint, MTEL describes itself as a “pioneer” in wireless communications, noting it is credited with launching the world’s first two-way wireless data messaging service, dubbed SkyTel 2-Way.


The company, in its filing, also notes that it recently received a favorable jury verdict in another, similar case against Apple.


The jury, in its Nov. 17 ruling, found various features of Apple’s iOS7 and various Apple devices infringed the same patents.


“Apple’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and all versions of Apple’s iPad running iOS 8 contain similar features that are not colorably different from those found to be infringing in Mobile Telecomms. Techs., LLC v. Apple,” MTEL wrote.


Apple’s customers are likewise direct infringers of the patents-in-suit, MTEL says in its complaint.


“End users with mobile units enabled by Messaging Service applications use the Apple Messaging Service operations center embodied by the claims of the ‘428 patent,” lawyers for the company wrote, making a similar argument for the ‘946 patent.


MTEL is asking the court for a preliminary injunction.


“A balancing of the equities confirms that the harm to MTEL without injunctive relief far outweighs any potential harm to Apple, which has willfully and intentionally infringed the patents-in-suit with full knowledge of MTEL’s prior rights,” the company’s lawyers wrote.


MTEL also is seeking a jury trial, attorneys’ fees and damages.


Austin law firm Reed & Scardino LLP is representing the company.


From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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