Vonage Plots Next Legal Move

The beleaguered VOIP provider seeks a full appeals court review of Verizon decision.

Having settled its patent litigation with Sprint, Vonage filed a motion with the U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 10 seeking to reverse that courts decision upholding two of three infringement verdicts favoring Verizon.

"This move represents the next logical step for Vonage in managing this litigation and continuing to move our business forward," Vonage Chief Legal Officer Sharon OLeary said in a statement. "We recently settled our case with Sprint, and continue to explore all legal options available to put the Verizon litigation to rest."

On Sept. 26, the Court of Appeals ruled Vonage, of Holmdel, N.J., infringed two patents held by Verizon and remanded a third infringement claim back to a lower court. The appeals panel also vacated the entire award of $58 million in damages and ordered the lower court to reconsider and recalculate the damages.

The Oct. 10 filing by Vonage seeks to have the entire appeals court review Vonages arguments that Verizons patents do not meet the Supreme Courts standards of obviousness. On April 30, the high court said the federal appeals court is improperly applying the standard of deciding whether a claimed invention is obvious to those "skilled in the art."


Click here to read more about the Verizon patent infringement decision against Vonage.

The decision came a little more than a month after the lower court decision finding Vonage infringed on Verizons patents.

The Verizon patents, filed in 1997, cover the translation of domain names and IP addresses to telephone numbers when Internet calls are passed off to the traditional telephone system. Vonage claims the solution was obvious to those skilled in the art and that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office should have never issued the patents to Verizon.

Vonages settlement with Sprint is valued at $80 million with Sprint licensing its technology to Vonage.

As Vonage continues to swim in a sea of infringement litigation, speculation continues to swirl that the company wont survive the legal onslaught.

"Its going to be a very, very tough squeeze for Vonage," Michael Gartenberg, vice president and research director at JupiterResearch, told eWEEK on Oct. 9. In addition to the litigation, Gartenberg noted the increasing VOIP competition from incumbent carriers and upstarts like Skype.

"Its hard to see how they can compete against all those things and still change the game," he said.


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