Re: Judge Hits Vonage With Injuction; Stop Using Verizon Technology

Peter wrote:

>> A federal judge dealt a blow to Vonage Holdings Corp. that sent its >> stock reeling on Friday, when he agreed to bar the company from >> using Internet phone call technology patented by Verizon >> Communications Inc. ... A jury on March 8 found Vonage had >> infringed three patents owned by Verizon. ... > When Vonage hit the scene, a number of participants here were quite > enthused about it. I am curious as to what they think of the current > situation. > Also, could anyone explain -- in layman's terms -- what the three > patents covered?

From CNet: "The patents Vonage was found to have infringed deal with technologies involving connection of VoIP calls to the regular phone network, some features for implementing call-waiting and voice-mail services, and VoIP calls using Wi-Fi handsets."

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"When Verizon first filed its lawsuit, it said that Vonage was infringing on seven of its patents. It later revised its complaint, and the jury ultimately considered five patents. The jury was asked not only to decide whether Vonage had infringed on its patents, but also whether the patents themselves were valid. The jury found that all five patents were valid, but it only decided that Vonage violated three of them.

The jury also found Vonage infringed on a patent involving VoIP calls using Wi-Fi handsets. Vonage was cleared of infringing two patents related to billing systems designed to prevent fraud.

The eight jurors rejected Verizon's argument that the infringement was willful. If the jury had found that the infringement was willful, it could have tripled the damages it awarded to Verizon."

At the risk of offending some people, I am not sympathetic to Vonage. > I felt they entered the market by low-balling the pricing and failing > to provide 911 support. They had to make that up after the fact. > Cutting corners is an easy way to break in to a market, but not > necessarily a good one. Now they've been found guilty of stealing > inventions. Well, gee, you steal someone else's R&D, it's easy to > underprice them. They do all the work, you get all the benefits.

So, according to the jury, Vonage was not intentionally "stealing", they are "infringing".

"Throughout the entire lawsuit Vonage has denied that it has violated any patents. It claims that most of the technology it uses is standards- based and widely available throughout the industry. The company said it plans to appeal the verdict."

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Gene S. Berkowitz
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