Verizon Gets Smacked Down For Its VoIP Patent Suing Spree
from the so-much-for-whacking-cable-competitors dept
Verizon was one of the last players to the VoIP party. Cable companies had been offering VoIP for years, and then Vonage, AT&T and a variety of other startups really built the market before Verizon even bothered to enter the space with an overpriced, uninspiring “me too” product that the market made clear it didn’t want. Yet, somehow, Verizon was able to get some patents on the technology, despite a ton of rather clear prior art that showed Verizon’s patents should never have been granted.
So, with those patents, Verizon began suing — and it started with the lame duck in the VoIP space: Vonage. The company has been struggling for a variety of reasons, and a bunch of patent holders swept in to sue the firm that actually made VoIP a viable product in the market. Vonage came under massive pressure from shareholders to get rid of these lawsuits, so it settled rather than deal with a lengthy court room battle.
Verizon interpreted this as a validation of its patents and set off to find others to sue. Its next target was Cox Cable for its digital telephony solution. The plan was clear. After beating Cox, it would turn its legal guns on the big boys like Comcast and Time Warner. Except, it appears the courts have tossed a wrench into those plans by siding with Cox in pointing out that the company doesn’t violate Verizon’s patents. While Verizon will most likely appeal, this should be seen as a pretty big win for Time Warner Cable and Comcast, who may not even have to defend themselves against Verizon’s questionable patent claims at all.