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DMS1
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2007 11:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I think Vonage stating that they don't believe a work-around is possible because of the scope of the patents is a stroke of genius. They are effectively telling the appeals judge that Verizon could go after every Voip service for supposed infringement. This is very different to just being able to target one rogue player.

I would not be at all surprised if some judge ultimately declares that, given the number of potential customers affected (not ignoring the fact that people would lose 911 service) and the fact that Verizon never actively implemented the patented technology itself and were slow to defend their patents, it is not in the public interest to award any form of injunction to Verizon. Ultimately, it could end in Verizon receiving some monetary settlement well below what they actually wanted so that they just shut up and go away.
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jofficer
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2007 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Taking your comment a bit further, I believe this might be a case where an insightful judge admits that Verizon's patents are just too broad.

It would be like saying that I want to patent the process for exchanging the molecules in the air, while creating a chemistry reaction to encourage the sustainment of life..also referred to as breathing

I actually think that this is a good thing, in that a judge will be forced to revisit the facts surronding the patent, and whether or not its truly valid.
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rutter
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2007 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Does the judge in this case require a review of the patent to determine it's validity or was his mandate to discover if Verizon's patent was being infringed upon. Can the judge invalidate any of these patents? I think if we're hoping the judge dismisses the patents and allows Vonage (or any other Voip provider) to continue we may be disappointed. If Sprint is interested in Vonage then they must believe that Verizon's patents are invalid. The entire Voip industry is in jeopardy if these patents are as generic as some believe.
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DMS1
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2007 12:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I very much doubt the judge can alter the patents per-se, though he could advise a review of them. I'm not sure either whether he has the power to change the original finding that the patents were violated. However, I'm sure he has power to change the actual penalties, which is where the "public interest" aspect can come in to play. Even if the patents and the judgment of their violation stand, the final penalty imposed can make a huge difference.

There was a case a few years ago when British Telecom "suddenly remembered" that they had a patent which meant that they owned the concept of hyperlinks and wanted a royalty for every web page. I can't remember the details, but in the end a judge basically told them to go away because the implications were too great and they had waited too long to take action.
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sheezhot
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2007 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

That's interesting. You have the website link for that? If that was the ruling made by the judge on that particular case then maybe just maybe Vonage has a bigger chance afterall.

Verizon never came up on "patent claims" til now when a lot of customer's transferred to Vonage right? Or did they file their cases against Vonage after the latter got awarded as the #1 Digital Phone service? Rolling Eyes

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NateHoy
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2007 1:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Interesting article from TechDirt. Apparently, Verizon patented the technology long after it was discussed and submitted to an open standards board:

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20070417/005814.shtml

That may considerably weaken the validity of the patent.

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CAFC
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 12:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Yes, that's a great argument, but in a 1995 opinion of the federal appellate court that specializes in patents and reviews trial court decisions for errors (this court effectively has the last word, unless the U.S. Supreme Court takes the case--but the USSC only takes maybe 70 cases per year, so the odds are slim), in a decision called, Rite-Hite v. Kelley (Fed.Cir. 1995) (en banc, which means ALL the judges voted, which effectively makes this an even stronger pronouncement of the judge-made law), that argument failed. Similarly, your argument would fail here based on that judge-made law, because Voip is a competitive embodiment of Verizon's invention. That's the legal lingo. In other words, Voip takes money away from Verizon's land-line model.

That's not to say the patent won't be invalidated for trying to claim too much, however.

---
"It's never legal advice."

DMS1 wrote:
I think Vonage stating that they don't believe a work-around is possible because of the scope of the patents is a stroke of genius. They are effectively telling the appeals judge that Verizon could go after every Voip service for supposed infringement. This is very different to just being able to target one rogue player.

I would not be at all surprised if some judge ultimately declares that, given the number of potential customers affected (not ignoring the fact that people would lose 911 service) and the fact that Verizon never actively implemented the patented technology itself and were slow to defend their patents, it is not in the public interest to award any form of injunction to Verizon. Ultimately, it could end in Verizon receiving some monetary settlement well below what they actually wanted so that they just shut up and go away.


Last edited by CAFC on Wed Apr 18, 2007 12:16 am; edited 2 times in total
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CAFC
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 12:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I don't have time to review this right now, but if this information was published (and at least accessible) or in public use more than one year before Verizon's patent, my understanding is that Verizon would be statutorily barred from being able to get a patent. In other words, the patent would be invalid. Nobody would be able to patent this technology, since it already belonged to the public, and patentees can't "take that back."

Unfortunately, however, these sorts of cases are incredibly complicated, impossible to predict, and generally take a very long time. Also, they cost lots of money to litigate. THAT is the biggest danger to Vonage, and the whole reason Verizon brought the suit in the first place. Vonage will almost certainly lose, because they don't have the funds to finance a long and drawn-out legal battle.

Just a note--I'm an appellate attorney, but not a patent attorney. My comments are from some fuzzy stuff bouncing around my head, so I might not be remembering things spot-on.


---
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NateHoy wrote:
Interesting article from TechDirt. Apparently, Verizon patented the technology long after it was discussed and submitted to an open standards board:

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20070417/005814.shtml

That may considerably weaken the validity of the patent.
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sinceMay2004
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 12:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Thanx Nate => Hope.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 6:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

CAFC wrote:
Unfortunately, however, these sorts of cases are incredibly complicated, impossible to predict, and generally take a very long time. Also, they cost lots of money to litigate. THAT is the biggest danger to Vonage, and the whole reason Verizon brought the suit in the first place. Vonage will almost certainly lose, because they don't have the funds to finance a long and drawn-out legal battle.


Yup, that's the sad part. It's quite possible that Vonage may be in the right, but by the time the courts decide that, they could be "dead right".

Patent suits need some sort of penalty for "shotgun suing" like this - taking questionable patents and looking for companies in financial difficulties for the purpose of shooting them down by draining their legal fund. Unfortunately, I don't think there is anything in patent law that allows Vonage to seek restitution even if they do last long enough to prevail.

However, if Vonage stops spending money on advertising for a while, they may yet live long enough to see the end of this, one way or another.

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