Feeds

AT&T embraces let's-sue-Vonage fad

'Sprint and Verizon got nothin' on us'

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Yet another big-name telco has sued Vonage for patent infringement.

This time, it's AT&T putting the screws to the plucky voice over IP provider. The erstwhile Ma Bell filed suit last week in a Wisconsin-based federal court, insisting that Vonage is violating its patent for a "wide-area packet telephony system."

The new suit arrived just days after Vonage forked over $80m to settle a patent infringement case with Sprint Nextel, and the company continues to battle a third suit from telco behemoth Verizon.

In March, after a federal judge ruled that Vonage had infringed on a trio of Verizon patents, the New Jersey-based VoIP provider was ordered to pay $58m in damages, but the case is still in legal limbo. Earlier this month, Vonage filed a motion asking for a full review of the case by the US Court of Appeals.

The company has already pieced together workarounds for the portions of its VoIP technology that allegedly infringe Verizon's patents, but it's still facing a hefty pay off for past infringement.

Meanwhile, AT&T is waving just the one patent, first filed back in 1996 and officially rubber stamped in November 2002. Awarded to AT&T's former chief scientist, Alexander Fraser, it describes a packet-based networking system that uses "short packets containing compressed speech" as well as "a network interface unit" that ties into standard telephone devices.

Yes, you can patent such a thing.

A Vonage spokesman told us that the company has been in discussions with AT&T "for some time" over the patent, and it still hopes to settle the matter out of court. "Our preference is to settle suits with negotiation wherever possible," said Charles Sahner, "and we will continue to work towards an amicable settlement with AT&T."

Yes, that means the company may settle with Verizon as well. "We're talking to lots of companies about lots of different things," Sahner continued. "We are going to explore all options available to put the Verizon litigation to rest. Again, an amicable settlement would be preferable."

Can the company survive not one, not two, but three big-money settlements? Only if you take pity and sign up for its dirt-cheap VoIP service. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Same old iPad? NO. The new 'soft SIMs' are BIG NEWS
AppleSIM 'ware to allow quick switch of carriers
Brits: Google, can you scrape 60k pages from web, pleeease
Hey, c'mon Choc Factory, it's our 'right to be forgotten'
Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author
'Google did have some unique propositions for Nokia'
FCC, Google cast eye over millimetre wireless
The smaller the wave, the bigger 5G's chances of success
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
Mobile coverage on trains really is pants
You thought it was just *insert your provider here*, but now we have numbers
Don't mess with Texas ('cos it's getting Google Fiber and you're not)
A bit late, but company says 1Gbps Austin network almost ready to compete with AT&T
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.