Telstra is facing a patent infringement lawsuit from British company Upaid. Upaid, which holds patents for "certain foundational technologies underlying the majority of modern mobile commerce systems’ implementations" according to the company.
Upaid has issued proceedings in the Australian Federal Court for alleged infringements of two patents.
A statement from Upaid said the company is "alleging that Telstra is charging customers who are registered on its 3G and NextG networks when customers are roaming overseas and acquire goods and services from Telstra or third party merchants through Telstra’s Bigpond portal.
"Upaid also specifically alleges Telstra uses Upaid’s intellectual property rights without permission in selling a variety of mobile commerce services to its prepaid customers."
Upaid said its founder and chief executive officer, Simon Joyce, invented the technology that allows mobile users to carry out business with several merchants.
“The technology overcomes the limitations otherwise imposed upon consumers by the need to limit parties to those whose computer systems are tightly integrated with a particular telecommunications company,” Upaid said in its statement.
Upaid said it has tried to negotiate licensing agreements with Telstra but the talks were not successful.
Telstra has defended the claims and said it respects intellectual property rights.
“We are disappointed Upaid Systems has refused our offer of good faith discussions on this matter and instead has chosen to litigate in the first instance,” a spokesperson for the telco said.
“We can't comment on matters before the court other than to say we will exercise all our legal rights in this case.”
Upaid claims it has more than 35 patents in more than 30 countries, including Australia, Mexico, Singapore, Russia, Japan and the United States. It says none of the patents have been bought but have been granted due to the company’s own inventions.
“Upaid has invested a great deal in defending and enforcing its patent portfolio. As a result we are well prepared to move expeditiously and expect to prevail,” Joyce said.
Upaid is seeking an unspecified amount for past damages and injunctions which prevent Telstra infringing on patents in the future.
“Companies that build their businesses on intellectual property that they do not own or license do so at the peril of their shareholders,” Joyce said.