FILE Picture: The AT&T symbol is photos on a building in Los Angeles, California, U.S. August 10, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake//File Picture

NEW YORK (Reuters) – AT&T Inc was sued on Tuesday for at the very least $1.35 billion by a Seattle company that accused the telecommunications giant of stealing its patented “twinning” know-how, which allows clever equipment such as watches and tablets respond to calls placed to a solitary cellular phone range.

Community Applications LLC mentioned AT&T abandoned joint advancement and licensing agreements for its technologies in 2014 soon after acknowledging it would owe a “fortune” in royalties mainly because the industry for wise products was exploding, only to then integrate the know-how a 12 months afterwards in its possess solution, NumberSync.

According to a grievance submitted in Manhattan federal court docket, NumberSync employs the “same principle and architecture” with only “cosmetic modifications,” and its purported “inventors” were being the identical AT&T personnel who experienced worked with the plaintiffs.

Community Apps, which was when regarded as Mya Variety, stated Dallas-primarily based AT&T has not paid required royalties considering that October 2015.

It is in search of at the very least $450 million of damages, which it wishes tripled to reflect AT&T’s alleged “willful and egregious infringement,” in addition royalties for any upcoming infringements.

AT&T claimed it will overview the lawsuit and respond in court docket.

Community Apps’ founders, John Wantz and Kyle Schei, in a joint statement reported “AT&T’s final decision to steal our technology” has forced them to scale back operations significantly.

“Our technology is an eloquent remedy for a important dilemma at a vital time in the business,” they included.

According to AT&T’s web site, NumberSync lets individuals make and obtain phone calls on smartwatches, tablets, personal computers andcompatible Alexa-enabled products without having obtaining to down load appsor interact in “call-forwarding acrobatics.” The scenario is Community Applications LLC et al v AT&T Inc et al, U.S.District Court docket, Southern District of New York, No. 21-00718.

Reporting by Sheila Dang and Jonathan Stempel in New York Modifying by Sonya Hepinstall