The startup VOIP service provider says the name of AT&T's new VOIP offering, CallVantage, is too similar to the Vonage name, and it's suing for trademark infringement.
Vonage Holdings Corp. has sued AT&T Corp. for trademark infringement, alleging that the name of AT&Ts newly launched VOIP service is confusingly similar to its company and product name.
In its lawsuit filed last week in U.S. District Court in New Jersey, Vonage alleges that AT&T is infringing on its name by launching a VOIP service named CallVantage. Vonage also is accusing AT&T of cyber squatting for having filed a series of domain names in February that it says are similar to those owned by Vonage. Those Web addresses include variations on "callvontage" in the .com, .net and .biz domains.
The lawsuit points to the growing stakes in the VOIP market as more providers enter the space. AT&T rolled out its residential CallVantage service at this weeks Spring 2004 VON Conference & Expo in Santa Clara, Calif. It announced availability for New Jersey on Monday and launched the service Tuesday for parts of Texas.
Vonage of Edison, N.J., was founded in 2001 and first launched its Vonage Digital Voice service over broadband connections in March 2002. Brooke Schulz, Vonage vice president of corporate communications, said the company has spent three years building up brand awareness and had tried to resolve the name issue with AT&T before filing the lawsuit.
"This is really about confusion in the marketplace," Schulz said in an interview with eWEEK.com at the VON show. "We welcome them to the marketplace, but we want them to use a different name."
Officials at Bedminster, N.J.-based AT&T declined to comment on the specifics of the lawsuit but said they were confident of its outcome in their favor.
"We simply think the suit is without merit, and we do believe that we will prevail," AT&T spokesman Gary Morgenstern said.
The Vonage lawsuit is seeking an injunction to prevent AT&T from continuing to use the CallVantage name as well as a requirement for AT&T to transfer the disputed domain names to Vonage.
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As an online reporter for eWEEK.com, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for eWEEK.com. Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.