AT&T sued for $1.35 bn for stealing technology

AT&T was sued for $1.35 billion by Seattle-based Network Apps that accused the telecommunications giant of stealing its “twinning” technology.
AT&T campaign
Network Apps’ patented “twinning” technology lets smart devices such as watches and tablets respond to calls placed to a single phone number.

Network Apps said AT&T abandoned joint development and licensing agreements for its technology in 2014 after realizing it would owe a “fortune” in royalties because the market for smart devices was exploding, only to then incorporate the technology a year later in its own product, NumberSync.

According to a complaint filed in Manhattan federal court, NumberSync uses the “same concept and architecture” with only “cosmetic changes,” and its purported “inventors” were the same AT&T personnel who had worked with the plaintiffs.

Network Apps, which was once known as Mya Number, said Dallas-based AT&T has not paid required royalties since October 2015.

It is seeking at least $450 million of damages, which it wants tripled to reflect AT&T’s alleged “willful and egregious infringement,” plus royalties for any future infringements.

AT&T said it will review the lawsuit and respond in court.

Network Apps’ founders, John Wantz and Kyle Schei, in a joint statement said “AT&T’s decision to steal our technology” has forced them to scale back operations significantly. “Our technology is an eloquent solution for a critical problem at a critical time in the industry.”

According to AT&T’s website, NumberSync lets consumers make and receive calls on smartwatches, tablets, computers and compatible Alexa-enabled devices without having to download appsor engage in call-forwarding acrobatics.