Posted by: Olga Kharif on October 22, 2007
Just when things began looking a little brighter for Vonage, which recently settled a patent infringement lawsuit with Sprint, the Web-calling company got hit with another legal action.
Mighty AT&T filed a patent infringement claim against Vonage in the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Wisconsin. AT&T is seeking injunctive relief, compensatory and treble damages and attorneys’ fees in unspecified amounts. The complaint relates to a single telecommunications patent, and Vonage and AT&T “have been in discussions to resolve this matter for some time. Although the Company intends to continue to pursue an amicable resolution of this matter, the Company cannot assure that this matter will not ultimately be litigated,” per Vonage’s Friday filing.
I remember how, a year ago, when Vonage got hit with a patent lawsuit from Verizon, which it ultimately lost (the case is on appeal), many legal experts claimed that there was no way that Vonage could ever be found guilty of patent infringement. Well, guess what, it’s been found so in two cases already. And now, there comes a third allegation. Will it be the last? Who knows. But one thing is clear: Vonage will have humongous legal expenses for months — if not years — to come. And that’s particularly bad news, considering that the company is already in a poor financial shape. Though Vonage has implemented major cost cuts already, perhaps more will be needed now, in light of the AT&T claim.