Last Friday, Intercarrier Communications LLC (“ICC”), a Texas limited liability company, filed lawsuits against at least thirteen different technology companies, including Apple Inc. Other defendants include the makers of such popular apps as TextNow and PingChat! (by Enflick), Viber, WhatsApp, and Glympse. The lawsuits were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, which seems on its face unusual for a Texas company.
In its suit against Apple, ICC alleges that Apple Messages and FaceTime products for iOS and OS X infringe on a patent it owns, U.S. Patent No. 6,985,748. According to its description, that patent is entitled “Inter-carrier Messaging Service Providing Phone Number Only Experience” and was invented by Chris Knotts. All of Knotts’s registered patents are related to inter-carrier messaging. According to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, ICC registered with the Secretary of State on April 23, 2012.