Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Sprint Nextel sues over Internet-based telephone service (VoIP)

Sprint Nextel Corp. said on October 4, 2005, that it had sued Vonage Holdings Corp., Voiceglo Holdings Inc. and Inc., accusing them of infringing on seven patents related to Internet telephony technology.

The patent-infringement lawsuit, filed in federal district court in Kansas (D. Kansas) by one of Sprint Nextel's subsidiaries, seeks an injunction that would bar the defendants from using the communication company's patented technology. The suit also seeks unspecified monetary damages. Once again, we see the injunction issue currently being discussed in H.R. 2795.

The patents cover technology that enable the processing and delivery of voice and data packets used in Internet telephony, or voice over Internet protocol [VoIP].

Ed Cespedes, president of VoiceGlo, said: "Either they don't understand our business or they're trying to say all VoIP is violating their patents." Vonage of Edison, New Jersey, which says it is the nation’s largest Internet telephone company with more than one million customers, is said to be planning to raise $400 million to $600 million by selling stock to the public. Vonage users connect telephones to adapters to high-speed Internet connections, a setup that allows them to then make calls with traditional telephones. The technology at the center of the dispute transforms voices into packets of data, which then can be sent over the Internet or other data networks. When they reach their destination, the packets are translated so the person receiving the call can hear them as a voice.

Generally, Sprint has a number of patents in the area, including US 6,373,930, entitled Method and system for monitoring telecommunications traffic and US 6,731,735, entitled URL-based dialing for voice telephone calls. The latter notes:

A user views web-pages of a desired Website within a browser application that navigates to web-pages in response to URL's input by the user within the browser. In the event that a Website user may wish to have a telephonic voice call with a contact representative of the business or entity, appropriate telephone numbers are oftentimes (but not always) displayed on the web-pages themselves (or means may be provided to actually complete a voice connection over the Internet itself, known as voice over IP or VOIP). However, users may still not be able to identify a desired telephone number or create an Internet-based voice connection because 1) no telephone number or VOIP link is given, 2) a Website may be temporarily unavailable due to equipment failure, and 3) there may be many potential customers that do not have access or do not desire to use the Internet.

packet: A block of data that is transmitted over the network in a packet-switched system. The terms frame, packet and datagram are often used synonymously.


Teles has also acquired a US patent for its VoIP telephony method. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has granted the Berlin-based company the patent with the number 6,954,453, which comes down to a slightly modified version of the so-called IntraStar Patent. This European patent protects a method that Teles according to its own statements claims to have developed which allows devices to switch between line-switched and packet-switched transmission.

Armed with the patent Teles had initiated legal action against its competitor AVM, alleging that the latter's device Fritz!Box Fon was making use of Teles' method. A short while ago the District Court in Mannheim dismissed the complaint. An appeal against the decision is pending with the Higher Regional Court in Kalrsruhe. Among the companies against which Teles has already filed IntraStar infringement lawsuits in Germany it is Quintum and Cisco that Teles now on the basis of its freshly granted US patent means to file actions against in the United States as soon as possible.


Post a Comment

<< Home