Quick! Who Else Has A VoIP Patent That Vonage Can Settle Over?

from the sue-and-settle! dept

We've covered in too much detail how it's some sort of "open season" on Vonage when it comes to VoIP patents. After dealing with ridiculous and expensive patent lawsuits from companies who failed to actually innovate in the same way Vonage did, the company was pressured by Wall Street to quickly settle the various patent lawsuits filed against the company. Of course, rather than settle matters, that simply opened the door for other companies to go searching through their patent portfolios to see if there was anything they could sue Vonage over. Indeed, following those settlements it didn't take long for AT&T to dig up a patent and sue -- which was quickly settled as well. Thought things were over? No such luck. Nortel just showed up last month to sue and it took all of about a week and a half for Vonage to settle that case as well.

The Nortel case is slightly different because Vonage actually already had a patent infringement lawsuit going against Nortel, but it wasn't really initiated by Vonage. Instead, it had been initiated by a patent holding firm that Vonage bought in 2006. The end result of the settlement doesn't involve money changing hands, but just a cross licensing agreement for the patents. So what's the big lesson that Vonage and others have learned from this? It's certainly got nothing to do with innovating. It's to hoard as many patents as possible so that you have your own nuclear stockpile for when someone else sues you. Want to know why the USPTO is overwhelmed? It's not because there aren't enough examiners (as some will claim) or that there aren't enough funds. It's because the way the system now works is that you are supposed to file patents on every tiny little advancement so you can use it to protect yourself against lawsuits from everyone else. That's not about innovation. It's about waste. In the meantime, since it's still open season at Vonage, who's going to be next? There are a ton of other patents in the VoIP space that can surely be used in a lawsuit, right?

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  1. identicon
    Eliot, 2 Jan 2008 @ 12:55pm

    angry dude

    Wow. Mike, I'm sorry. You seem to have a great fanboy/troll here in angry dude. This is just impressive. I've never seen someone behave so immaturely so persistently ... no, wait, I did. When I had to baby-sit a 7-year-old.

    Angry dude, find another hobby, this one is just pathetic.

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