Never Mind, Vonage Can Still Sign Up New Customers

Vonage caught a break and can continue to sign up new customers after being found guilty of infringing patents belonging to Verizon. According to Marketwatch: “A federal court of appeals issued a stay that allows Holmdel, N.J.-based Vonage to continue to do business as usual until an appeal is heard. Vonage is seeking to make the stay permanent.” So, to amuse ourselves whilst we await the outcome of the appeal, here’s some intelligent analysis of the infringing patents.

We’re not lawyers, but this stuff looks pretty broadly defined. Vonage is currently guilty of infringing:

26. A method comprising:

receiving a name translation request at a server coupled to a public packet data network;

translating a name included in the request into a destination telephone number associated with a name included in the request; and

transmitting a reply containing both the destination telephone number and a packet data network address of a telephone gateway coupled between the public packet data network and a telephone network through the public packet data network to a calling device.

27. A method as in claim 26, wherein the address is an Internet Protocol address.

By the way, we patented a method for posting cat pictures to the internet while you were reading that. Discuss.—MEGHANN MARCO

Verizon-Vonage patent analysis Part One: 6,282,574 [ZDNet]

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  1. Stepehn Colbert says:

    huh, I initially found it interesting how the judge just flat out banned them from signing up new customers. I remember when the blackberry, made by sprint, i believe, was under scrutiny by that canadian company for stealing their technology, and the judge could have done something similar, but he recognized that banning the blackberry from being used by “Sprint”, would screw quite a few customers, and he pulled both of them aside and asked them to “work something out”. It seems that this judge is quite a bit more extreme in his morals.

  2. schmosef says:

    http://www.icanhascheezburger.com/ has significant prior art! ;)

  3. tedyc03 says:

    I think the judge is using this as a way to force a settlement between the two companies. Verizon is happy because they feel like Vonage has to negotiate with them, but Vonage knows no judge will ever force them to stop signing up customers. The stay was expected and automatic almost.

    By the way, Blackberries are made by Research In Motion, which is based in Canada. NTP sued RIM for patent infringement and won; the Blackberry maker might have had an injunction issued against it but settled the case for >$600 million and is now free to do what it wants.

  4. Art Vandelay says:

    @tedyc03: Another reason Blackberry stayed up was because of how many government employees used the hardware/service.

  5. Nygdan says:

    It seems like Vonage really shouldn’t be allowed to sign up new customers when its stealing the process from verizon. I don’t favour either of them really, but if they’re blatantly infringing on a patent, I’d expected any company to not be allowed to continue to infringe on that patent and expand their company with it, no?

  6. chanson says:

    It’s important to note that one isn’t “found guilty” of patent infringement. Patents are covered by civil law. Not only is infringing them not a crime, but the standard of proof for infringement is significantly less than “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Not only that, but patent law in the U.S. is way past due for a signficant overhaul, and the loss of a patent infringement lawsuit shouldn’t, in and of itself, be cause for disparagement of any company or person. I’m not taking either side here; just trying to clarify implications.

  7. FLConsumer says:

    If I were Vonage, I’d look to Verizon and claim you bought everything from hardware vendors. Then Cisco (Sipura) and Motorola would be on the hook, not yourself. I’d imagine Cisco & Verizon do quite a bit of business together and Verizon wouldn’t want to piss them off.

  8. oldhat says:

    Another example of how our much-loved free market capitalism encourages innovation.

    Or not. Strange beast…it gets all the credit but misses all the blame.

    Like athletes thanking God: “First off, I’d like to thank the Lord for this win today…”

    But you never hear, “Well, God works in mysterious ways, and I guess in His infinite wisdom He made me suck ass today…thank You Jesus!”

  9. Sorenso says:

    I am copy writting the ability to use air moving over vocal cords to create audio, that is then in turn used to communicate. Shit I am gonna be rich.

    Verizon, there is a special little place for you and your lawyers in hell.

  10. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    Wacky patent laws, greedy corporations, tech illiterate judges, and lawyers.. these are the things that are killing innovation in the US.

  11. oldhat says:

    @LatherRinseRepeat: Not to mention those who hire them, pay them, work for them, vote for them, don’t vote for them, give birth to them, have sex with them, teach them, learn from them, make money off of them…..

    Did i miss anybody? You, in the back? Yes, you too…