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
    Dam, 6 Apr 2007 @ 1:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: F**K Verizon

    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.

    Uhh...cell providers are NOT monopolies, they are free to set up just about anywhere with FCC approval. The reason your area doesn't have more providers is due to a lack of population density.

    If you live in a small market, don't expect to have four different providers beating down your door. There just isn't enough business to go around and everyone to be profitable.


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