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AT&T Settles Dispute Over Patented Technology

November 10, 2000|Elizabeth Douglass

Telecommunications giant AT&T Corp. agreed to pay a "significant" settlement to a Los Angeles inventor who sued the phone company for using his patented technology in a variety of computerized telephone and call-processing systems. The inventor, Ronald A. Katz, said he is "overjoyed" by the settlement but that he is bound by a confidentiality pact to not disclose the amount and terms of the AT&T agreement. The lengthy legal dispute between AT&T and Katz involved technology and systems that AT&T uses in automated telephone systems including (800) CALL-ATT, AT&T calling-card services, teleconferencing, call centers and prepaid calling systems. AT&T paid Katz for a worldwide, nonexclusive license for a portfolio of Katz patents. In the wake of a 1999 court ruling favorable to Katz's position, other firms struck deals with Katz, including IBM, Microsoft, WorldCom, Sprint and Home Shopping Network.

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