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
    Guru80, 6 Apr 2007 @ 11:34am


    I have used Vonage for about a year and a half without a SINGLE problem and really hope this doesn't end my service. I also use them for my business fax and really don't want to go through the process of transferring my fax number (if I can) to another provider since it is on ALL my marketing material and documents.

    For my home phone I have always received nothing but crystal clear connections, never any hiccups and have never even noticed a single down minute that has ever effected me. The easy and free call forwarding is awesome and something I use every day since I am normally out on business.

    Here is to hoping Vonage survives this and comes out unscathed on the other side.

    Screw Verizon. Only used them one time and I am sure it was a fluke but they charged me for the wrong plan and excess usage for 3 straight months and acted like they did me a favor when they corrected it every month when I called in. After the third month I had to get an attorney involved and that finally settled the run around. It wasn't a pleasant experience trying to get 600+ dollars in overages taken off my account month after month.

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