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Vonage Slapped with Another Patent Infringement Suit
[June 19, 2006]

Vonage Slapped with Another Patent Infringement Suit

TMCnet Executive Editor
 

Adding to its laundry list of headaches, Vonage (News - Alert) Holdings Corp. has been slapped with another patent infringement lawsuit, the leading provider of broadband telephone services acknowledged on Monday.

 


The charges this time come from Verizon and represent the fourth time patent infringement allegations were lobbied against the company and its wholly owned subsidiary, Vonage America Inc. Last October, Sprint (News - Alert) Nextel sued Vonage as well as theglobe.com, which has subsequently changed the name of its VoIP operations to TGLO, in U.S. District Court in Kansas for allegedly infringing on seven patents. Both defendants believe their respective technologies to be proprietary and Sprint’s allegations to be unenforceable. Vonage and TGLO intend to fight the lawsuit in court.

 

But complicating matters is the death of the original inventor of Sprint’s patented technology. Joseph Michael Christie died in 1996 – at the time, a Sprint employee – and legal experts believe that development represents a blow to the defense team, which typically disposes and cross-examines an inventor to fight the patent claims.

 

Vonage also faces patent infringement claims from Rates Technology Inc., which also currently has claimed that Google infringe on its VoIP technology when it launched Google Talk. In a suit that was also filed in October 2005 in New York against Vonage, Rates Technology alleged the defendant infringed on technology that finds the lowest call routing of telephone calls to the PSTN. And, in December 2005, one individual sued Vonage in North Carolina for allegedly infringing on utility services using pre-programmed smart cards. All of the lawsuits were outlined in Vonage’s SEC filing related to its IPO debacle.

 

In its latest press release, Vonage said it respects the valid intellectual property rights of others. But its services have also been developed with its own proprietary technology and technology legally licensed from third parties. As such, the company said it intends to vigorously defend the lawsuit.

 

“Vonage has not previously been notified by Verizon (News - Alert) regarding the seven patents identified in the lawsuit and has engaged outside intellectual property counsel to investigate the matter,” the company said.

 

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Robert Liu is Executive Editor at TMCnet. Previously, he was Executive Editor at Jupitermedia and has also written for CNN, A&E, Dow Jones and Bloomberg. For more articles, please visit Robert Liu's columnist page.


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