back to article AT&T embraces let's-sue-Vonage fad

Yet another big-name telco has sued Vonage for patent infringement. This time, it's AT&T putting the screws to the plucky voice over IP provider. The erstwhile Ma Bell filed suit last week in a Wisconsin-based federal court, insisting that Vonage is violating its patent for a "wide-area packet telephony system." The new suit …


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  1. Shad

    patent reform

    patent reform

    patent reform

    patent reform

    It is time for some serious patent reform

    Good ol' Ma Bell sure did not take long to return to its old shenanigans eh?

    It is time to rip this crap system apart and start fresh. Redistribute the stolen wealth tied into companies like AT&T and imprison any director or manager who feels that it is right to make money by robbing another, weaker company of its assets instead of developing its own.

    Something to consider: Maybe patent holders who claim infringement should be force to demonstrate intent to infringe and then also prove they had a working prototype of their patented technology at the time of the filing of the patent application.

    Bunch of blood sucking leaches.

  2. yeah, right.

    Sounds about right

    One thing in common: all these companies have a lot to lose if VoIP really takes off, or if someone else grabs the ball they dropped and runs with it. So it makes sense that these same companies would try to sue into oblivion the one company that is trying to make a commercial go of VoIP. So it's not about enforcing patents. It's about using those possibly invalid patents (not that this has stopped anyone in the USA from using them, or the USPTO from issuing them) to try to drive a competitor into the ground.

    All business as usual in the USA then.

    Somehow I think that Skype being shielded by Google makes Skype a much less attractive target for lawyers. Especially those who don't want the big guy to sit on them.

  3. Tim J

    How stupid is this

    So AT&T managed to patent "a network interface unit" that allows regular telephones to be plugged into VOIP equipment. This is nuts. Patents are supposed to protect specific inventions and allow the inventors to profit from them, not stifle innovation by allowing corporations to own (or should that be pwn) an entire broad-brush concept. It shouldn't be like this...

    <sound fx: Ring ring... ring ring...>

    I'd better go and answer that, I think it's reality calling...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't need patent reform...

    ...just craftier patents. Personally, I'm going to patent the idea of suing Vonage.

  5. Anonymous Coward


    I am a customer of Vonage, one thing I like about them is that you pay £7.99 a month for unlimited calls to the US & Canada. What with the wife being a Canadian she can call them all she wants, we've got a Montréal telephone number too for another £2.99 a month, so her friends and family can call her. Regular telco's should sit up and pay attention and not sue the guy using the new technology, but embrace it! Hell, even BT are trying with their BT Home Hub & Phone, it's not perfect, but at least they're doing something about it.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Prior Art...

    Let's see "short packets containing compressed speech". So that would be PCM invented in the 30's by A.H Reeves and then refinded into g711a & g711u-law in the 80's.

    The system is a little unknown thing called ISDN, which ironically also must have "a network interface unit"

  7. Keith Williams


    I too am a vonage customer. I initially got vonage because I hated paying $53/month for my voice line with all the crap. I get a much better deal from Vonage at $20/mo for 500 minutes, which I never even come close to using, plus tons of features. And the service has been much better the last few months, with no dropped calls, no echo and no 1/2 calls (one side can't hear the other)

    The phone companies, and even the cable companies (mine wants $49/mo for less service and claims "up to" 25% savings) have dropped the ball on this.

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