VOIP Has Patent Problems

March 14, 2007

VOIP could see some bumps in its near future. Patent problems are effecting even the mightiest of the providers in the industry.

A jury has found that Vonage infringed on three Verizon patents on VOIP technology. The cost of this verdict will likely be felt all the way down to the subscribers. The court has ordered that Vonage will have to pay $58 million US plus more royalties if the infringements continue.

Vonage is not giving up without a fight. Its lawyer maintains that Vonage has not infringed on anyone’s VOIP patents. His argument goes on to say that the Verizon’s patents aren’t even sound – likening them to patenting a Christmas tree. According to many, this is just another example of how bad the United States patent system is set up.

With VOIP spreading rapidly, the patent office has issued extremely vague patents. This is actually hurting the technology because it keeps innovators out of the market. Anything that remotely resembles the patent is considered an infringement. Ultimately, these types of patents allow companies to make power grabs on internet potential without locking into a particular technological advance.

The future of what VOIP will become could depend on how the courts treat this case between Vonage and Verizon. Until the issue is resolved, Vonage is assuring its customers that service will not be interrupted.


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