Judge In Patent Case Puts Noose Around Vonage's Neck

from the competitive?-ha dept

A judge today barred Vonage from signing up new customers, following the ruling last month that it was infringing on some Verizon patents. According to ZDNet, the judge "said it was the only fair option that would minimize harm to both companies for now." It's hard to see how that's true, though. Clearly the harm on Vonage isn't being minimized, as an inability to sign up new customers will eventually kill the company. Once again, it's hard to see how patents are being used here to promote innovation. It's fairly obvious that Verizon has no interest in settling the case or licensing its patents, but rather it's an entrenched, slow-moving telco that simply wants to shut down its competition rather than compete in the marketplace. It's sad to see the judge allowing them to cripple Vonage in such a way, particularly after the Supreme Court said in the eBay-MercExchange case that injunctions aren't always the proper remedy, while appeals courts seem to have a better understanding that immediate injunctions aren't always the best solution because the harm a false injunction can do is significant and irreparable. Another story says the judge concluded that because the telecommunications market is so competitive, that there would be no impact on the public interest if the injunction were put in place -- but what happens when Verizon and other companies start suing other VoIP providers for patent infringement, seeking in some cases, heavy damages, but in others, simply to get some of that competition shut down? Update: And wouldn't you know it, but an appeals court hours later has granted a temporary stay of the injunction pending a hearing on Vonage's request for a permanent stay.

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  1. identicon
    Sanguine Dream, 6 Apr 2007 @ 9:48am

    Re: Re: FUCK Verizon

    I hope Verizon stays for a long time, or else they will leave an entire state (an the surrounding states for that matter) without mobile services. So, even if a few people boycott them, they will still have over a million customers from states that have no other options when it comes to mobile service providers.

    And that is exactly why telcos arrange monopolies in the areas they operate in. I'm in a similar situation with US Cellular being the only cell phone carrier in my area. They take advatange of the fact that they are the only cell phone option.

    Plain and simple the days of outperforming the competition are long dead. These days it is cheaper, faster, and more profitable to set up a monopoly and secure a few million obvious patents. That way you force the customers to use your service and you can make revenue by suing competitors into oblivion.

    I'm sure we all recall the days of the first dotcom bubble in which there were several "companies" that were nothing but a small group of people that would file for ovbious and unoriginal patents, hire a team of lawyers, then actively look for people to sue for infringment?

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