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The Sprint /Vonage Suit

Quite a bit has been written in the blogosphere about the Sprint patent suit against Vonage and VoiceGlo.  Martin muses a little about Sprint’s patent strategy.  Jeff doesn’t believe the suit has any merit.  Olga Kharif at BusinessWeek comments that the suit is very thin on details, and wonders whether it is simply a shakedown tactic to get Vonage’s price down before an acquisition.

My point of view?  Let’s wait and see.  Sprint would be stupid to sue Vonage and VoiceGlo over fundamental VoIP patents, such as specifics of SIP or other technologies.  However, implementation patents are a different story. Implementation patents read on specific implementation details that companies use to gain advantage over others when implementing open technologies.  If Sprint is alleging violation of patents that it might use to deliver a higher quality VoIP service than it’s competitors, then it makes perfect sense to sue. 

Wait and see.  There are many subtleties to patents, and this has just started.  

{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Aswath October 6, 2005, 5:11 am

    Shouldn't suits on implementation patents include the vendor that is marketing that specific implementation?

    One thing to note though is that nobody lists those seven patents, not Sprint and not even Kharif.

  • Alec October 6, 2005, 8:07 am

    One would think so, Aswath. This suggest, in my opinion, that VoiceGlo and Vonage have some code they have written themselves.

    And I agree — the fact that nobody lists the patents is disturbing. It's unclear what the implications are for the rest of the industry, and it would certainly clear the air if Sprint revealed the basis for this suit.

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