A Seattle-based company on Tuesday sued telecommunications giant AT&T for $1.35 billion, alleging the company stole its patented “twinning” technology that allows multiple devices to respond to the same phone number.
Reuters reported that Network Apps LLC filed a complaint in a Manhattan federal court against AT&T that alleges the NumberSync product is the same as its own technology simply with “cosmetic changes.”
The company is seeking a minimum $450 million of damages, tripling the demanded amount due to AT&T’s “willful and egregious infringement,” as well as future royalty infringements.
In a statement to The Hill, a representative for AT&T said, "We will review this lawsuit when we receive it and respond in court."
In the complaint, Network Apps stated that NumberSync has the “same concept and architecture” as the technology it had planned to license to AT&T in 2014 before the company dropped out of the deal, realizing it would owe an enormous sum of money to Network Apps.
“Our technology is an eloquent solution for a critical problem at a critical time in the industry,” said Network Apps co-founders John Wantz and Kyle Schei in a joint statement, according to Reuters. According to Wantz and Schei, they had been forced to downscale their company’s operations due to “AT&T’s decision to steal our technology.”
This is not the first time AT&T has faced a major complaint alleging bad business. The company in 2019 paid the Federal Trade Commission $60 million to settle allegations it had misled consumers with "unlimited data" claims. The payment was used to provide partial or full refunds to customers who signed up for unlimited plans but instead had their data speeds "throttled" — or reduced.