Jeff Pulver has weighed in on the Vonage / Verizon dispute, asserting that FWD had an implementation that pre-dated the Verizon patent by two years. Moreover, he also states that it was publicly disclosed in 1996 in a book he published, two months before the Verizon patent was filed.
I could have applied for a patent on the name translation function in October 1995, but I viewed the not inconsequential cost of the FWD project as a contribution to the public domain. I even published a book "The Internet Telephone Toolkit" with a detailed description of FWD written in January 1996, two months before Eric Voit filed the patent application for Verizon. Nothing in the description section of Verizon's patent would surprise members of the IPhone email discussion list I managed, yet the prior art disclosure does not reference FWD or the IPhone mailing list.
The claims that the court found were violated were
15. A method comprising:
receiving a name translation request at a server coupled to a public packet data network;
executing a conditional analysis in response to the name translation request;
if the conditional analysis produces a first result, translating a name included in the name translation request into a first destination address;
if the conditional analysis produces a second result, translating the name included in the name translation request into a second destination address; and transmitting a response message containing the first or the second destination address to a calling device for use in establishing communication at least partially through the public packet data network.
20. A method as in claim 15; wherein:
the first and second destination address includes a numeric Internet Protocol address; and the second destination address further includes information relating to call routing via a public switched telephone network.
It's hard to understand how the fate of the VOIP industry can hang on a simple if-then-else statement.