RIM sued over visual voicemail patent, could seek indemnification from App World vendor?

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Over the past several years Klausner Technologies, Inc. has been making headlines by suing large mobile companies, notably Apple and RIM, over alleged visual voicemail patent infringement on iPhone and BlackBerry devices. The company was founded by Judah Klausner — whose name sits atop the first PDA patent from 1978 (you can read more about him here). In 2009, Klausner Technologies named RIM in a lawsuit claiming ownership of several visual voicemail patents that RIM has filed and is now, obviously, making money from. Here is where the story takes a turn for the obscure…

RIM sent a letter to a small App World vendor — who asked to be kept anonymous  — claiming that the App World vendor may be responsible for the damages Klausner is seeking under Section 12 of the App World Vendor Agreement. A quick summation of Section 12:

Vendor shall indemnify, and if requested by RIM defend, and hold harmless RIM…from any third party claims, costs, damages, losses, settlement fees, and expenses…incurred directly or indirectly by a RIM Indemnified Party as a result of Vendor’s breach of this Agreement and/or as a result of any claim, suit, judgment, settlement, or cause of action…

The App World vendor in question provides a third-party visual voicemail service that is not native to BlackBerry OS, but rather a standalone service that one must sign-up for prior to downloading the application in App World. Now, to be clear: RIM was the sole company named in the suit filed by Klausner, and the suit covers RIM’s visual voicemail patent as applied and used in newer BlackBerry devices. Seems odd that a $38 billion company would try and drag a small software/service vendor into this legal battle where the patent in question has nothing to do with their product, no? We’ve reached out to RIM for comment and will update this when we hear back.

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