by Mike Masnick
Wed, Sep 26th 2007 4:09pm
Vonage is not having a very good week. Just after a jury sided with Sprint over Vonage in a patent dispute, the appeals court has affirmed the injunction against Vonage from the similar Verizon patent case that was decided earlier this year. The only small victory for Vonage is that the appeals court sent back the ruling on one of the three patents in question. Vonage is claiming that the ruling barely matters, since it's already developed a workaround for the other two patents. Of course, that's what they say -- not what Verizon or the courts have said. And, it still seems likely that Vonage is going to need to pay out quite a bit in terms of damages for the patents the court affirmed. Again, the point still stands from yesterday. Despite the court's rulings, these patents are highly questionable, with a tremendous amount of prior art. Even if you take as a given that the patents are valid, they had nothing to do with Vonage's success -- which was based on figuring out the right marketing and business models to attract users, not on the same technology that was obvious to everyone in the space. The telcos who are now suing Vonage couldn't (or didn't want to) figure out this model in order to protect their legacy voice business. To now force Vonage to pay those companies when it was the one who actually innovated shows the travesty of the current patent system.
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