Amazon Alexa Calling Feature Faces Patent Infringement Lawsuit
Voip-Pal has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Amazon for intellectual property violations pertaining to the Alexa calling and messaging features launched in 2017. The complaint was filed in the Nevada U.S. District Court and alleges that the calling and messaging features infringe on, “Voip-Pal’s patented technologies to direct voice/video calls and voice messages to both Amazon subscribers and non-subscribers.” Emil Malak, Voip-Pal CEO, commented in a media release:
“After investigating Amazon’s Alexa platform and Echo line of products our technical team has concluded that the calling and messaging functions infringe our patents. Amazon’s foray into communications seems to be part of a larger trend of giant corporations battling for market dominance by offering Internet-based communication products that integrate with traditional telephony networks. Fourteen years ago, Voip-Pal’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Digifonica, began developing, inventing and patenting many of the same communication methods that are now being employed by today’s Internet giants.”
The intellectual property related to the case include U.S. Patent No. 9,537,762, U.S. Patent No. 9,813,330, U.S. Patent No. 9,826,002, and U.S. Patent No. 9,948,549. Mr. Malak stated that there are more than nine years remaining on at least some of these patents. Voip-Pal does not develop any technology related to these patents and its only product is licensing these patents and several others in related categories to technology companies.
Amazon is Not Alone
Amazon is not alone in being targeted for patent violations by Voip-Pal. The company is also in litigation with Apple, AT&T, Verizon and Twitter. The patents involved in the Amazon case were also asserted against Apple in a lawsuit filed on May 29, 2018. The obvious question now is when Google will also face a similar claim. If not, it will be interesting to see what is different in its technical implementation for calling with Google Assistant.