Vonage Probably Owes AT&T $39 Million For Patent Infringement

Vonage has settled with AT&T over claims that the VOIP provider infringed on some patents held by the telecommunications giant.

The lawsuit was filed Oct 17. and a “tentative” settlement was reached a month later, supposedly for $39 million.

From PC World:

The settlement brings an unusually speedy end to the lawsuit, which was filed by AT&T on Oct. 17. It alleged Vonage wilfully infringed an AT&T patent related to telephone systems that allow people to make VoIP (voice-over-Internet Protocol) calls using standard telephone devices. A breakdown in talks between the two companies over the issue led to the lawsuit, said AT&T at the time.

Less than a month later, on Nov. 7, the two companies said they had tentatively agreed to a settlement. At that time Vonage said it would pay AT&T around US$39 million under the terms of the settlement.

Final terms were not disclosed on Friday when, in a brief statement, Vonage said the dispute had been settled.

I’m thinking of suing Vonage for patent infringement. Sure, I don’t even own any patents, but at this point they’re so busy handing out settlements, they’ll probably cut me a check for like $400,000 without even noticing that there’s no such company as “I’m Really Awesome Wireless, INC.”

AT&T, Vonage End Patent Feud [PC World]

Comments

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  1. Buran says:

    Why is it that Vonage gets picked on so much when there’s lots of other companies doing the same thing? Seems to me like they’re using the law as a banhammer to wipe out real competition so they can jack prices on everyone.

  2. RottNDude says:

    Vonage deserves it, that’s why.

    Let’s see… Jeff Citron, CEO – a verified crook and swindler.

    Non-existent customer service.

    Service that frequently craps out for hours if not full days at a time.

    Features that don’t work as advertised, or are frequently broken (voicemail, call forwarding, etc.)

    Oh, and pissing away millions upon millions of dollars in advertising when the above-mentioned issues were at their worst. I’d love to be the one with my hands around the neck of Vonage as they take their last gasp for air, but I think AT&T and others will have that joy instead.

    Good riddance.

  3. bradanomics says:

    I’ve never had any of those problems, RottinDude. Just wanted to let you know.

    How worried should I be that they are going to go out of business?

  4. brodskylaw says:

    @RottNDude: I’ve never had any problems with Vonage either. In fact, I love them. However, I am worried that they will be forced out of business by these lawsuits. I’ve been searching for a possible replacement, but can’t find any that offer the same features, voicemail-to-email being the most important one for me. Any suggestions, anyone?

  5. ShadowFalls says:

    I never saw Vonage as a viable alternative. The service I have offers 24 hour tech support, so if I have any issue, I can call up to get things handled, if need be, get a tech the next day out to my house.

    Vonage could never offer such service, so no point to even bother using them.

  6. Buran says:

    @RottNDude: That doesn’t explain the lawsuits. Those things aren’t patent-infringement-related. So what’s really going on here?

  7. saphyrre says:

    @rottndude
    I’ve had vonage for 2 years now, and never had any problems with it. But even if i would have some of those problems you’ve mentioned, I’d rather cancel my landline than switch to at&t.
    Don’t know about tech support, but the cust service (billing part) is very helpful and professional.

  8. SilverStar95 says:

    Yay. Proof that patents are a good thing! Right?

    Wait.. having wide-sweeping, generalized patents to prevent other companies from even having a chance to take what is there and making a potentially superior product or offering a superior service, without making an active move to utilize them? Oh, nevermind. That’s patents working to stifle creativity and innovation. I think we should outright remove the entire patent system. If you can’t keep your lazy ass innovating and you can’t be bothered to simply provide a better service, then you don’t deserve to earn a monopoly status on anything. If someone can take what’s available and make it better, all power to them. They’re doing something, you’re not.

  9. HOP says:

    we want it all………………

  10. BearTack says:

    Vonage customer service seems OK so far to me. In 17 months I have had one problem that required intervention. It was fixed in less than a half an hour after I sent an email. I have never gotten that kind of service from any telecommunications company.

  11. GearheadGeek says:

    @brodskylaw: Try VoicePulse. They had MORE features than Vonage until Vonage added a few to keep up recently. Great call filtering/forwarding/multi-ring, etc.

  12. HykCraft says:

    @Buran: Vonage uses other companies technology to use for their own. AT&T and Verizon already has patents for all their things. Vonage comes in and just steals everything. They deserved to get sued. In the Verizon case, the judge told them that they CANNOT sign up new customers.. yet they doing the opposite. The courts are now going against Vonage for violating the court’s ruling.

    Nice knowing you Vonage. Hopefully I won’t see anymore of your crappy commericals.

  13. SacraBos says:

    I’ve had Vonage for about two years. Moved my office to another location, and 0 problems getting the phones “moved”! This is something that would have been nearly impossible with typical phone service, even within the same city. Service is good, quality is good, and the features do what I need. I’ve been a very contented customer, and haven’t had any problems with them.

    However, I am setting up an Asterisk server and looking at moving/duplicating my service – just in case…

  14. Charles Duffy says:

    @RottNDude: Right. So you count it a good thing to have the courts uphold patents so broad that anyone trying to provide standards-based voice-over-IP telephony is vulnerable, just because you happen to have a beef with the first company these patents are being enforced against.

    Look — I’m just some average system administrator who happens to do some telephony work, and these patents have me scared shirtless — because if they could be used against Vonage, they could be used against anyone. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, this is nothing to celebrate.

  15. Charles Duffy says:

    @HykCraft: Bullshit. There’s no “stealing” here, just the patent office granting overbroad bullshit patents that never should have been approved in the first place. Have you read the claims? They’re ridiculous.

  16. Trauma_Hound says:

    @bradanomics: I’m a vonage customer and I can tell you last weekend your full of BS. Their entire system was down from Friday to Saturday. It was the entire system no just localized.

  17. Vejadu says:

    I’ve never had any problems with Vonage, and they’ve saved me a ton of money since I switched to them a few years ago. The only thing that annoys me is retreiving voice mail, but other than that it’s great.

  18. deemaunik says:

    Also never had any ‘real’ problems with Vonage. Had their service for more than four years now. When I signed up, they didn’t offer my area code and said they were working on it. Four years later, they still don’t. I just closed my account with them and opened up one with my local cable company in an “All in one” package. Mainly ’cause it’s easier to have everything on one bill, and the area code thing has always been a nagging presence when people have called me.