In the 1980s, an inventor named Ronald A. Katz secured approximately 50 patents related to the technology that links a telephone to a computer. Since the early 1990s, Ronald A. Katz Technology Licensing LP and its affiliate A2D LP have gone after companies using his computer-telephony integration (CTI) and interactive voice response (IVR) technologies-collecting an estimated $1 billion in licensing revenue.So far, Katz has settled with dozens of companies in the computing, telecommunications and banking industries. The legal teams of giants such as American Express, AT&T, IBM, Microsoft, Sprint and Verizon have capitulated to his demands.
That's because he's not doing anything illegal, according to sources. "There's nothing even immoral in what he's doing-because he paid for those patents," notes Frank Cuypers, head of intellectual property for Zurich-based Swiss Re.
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