Monday, April 16, 2007

What Else Would Vonage Say?

Vonage says it has no "workaround" in hand to sidestep Verizon's patented Internet phone technology. That would simply stand to reason. It obviously would take time to circumvent a broad patent covering interconnection of public and IP networks.

This is precisely what one would argue if angling for a permanent stay of an order that would shut one's company down, while an appeal winds its way through the courts.

More to the point, though, Vonage says isn't sure that such a plan is even "feasible," given the expansiveness of Verizon's patents, which set out methods for passing calls between the Web and conventional phone networks. Friday the 13th, indeed.

A federal court recently ruled that Vonage had infringed on Verizon's patented technology. As punishment, Vonage was barred from using the disputed technology to support new customers. Vonage has gotten a temporary stay, but has petitioned for a permanent stay until the appeals process is finished.

Vonage told investors and customers not to worry because a "workaround" was in development. That does not necessarily contradict the fact that "Vonage currently has no workarounds that moot the need for a stay."

"While Vonage has studied methods for designing around the patents, removal of the allegedly infringing technology, if even feasible, could take many months to fully study and implement," Vonage has said in a document filed with a federal court, USA Today reporter Leslie Cauley says.

We wouldn't think the filing necessarily reveals much, other than the strongest-possible argument to a judge that a permanent stay is urgently needed.

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