March 24, 2007
This has been a strong news month for the VoIP market and perhaps the biggest news of all has been the Verizon Vs. Vonage
patent case. While it is too early to know whether Verizon will ultimately be victorious, it is important to note the ruling may have ramifications for other VoIP providers.
If you play out this situation to its conclusion you realize what Verizon is doing may be illogical if it helps the cable companies. Why? The cable companies are a bigger competitive threat than Vonage.
Also, the FCC is applying very little drag on the speed of mergers in the communications space meaning we may soon see a single national cable company. If you can put AT&T back together again you can have a single nationwide (worldwide?) cable company. At least that is how the logic seems to be working.
So if this is the case, Verizon’s goal may be to eliminate the skirmish and proceed directly to the war. Vonage for its part thinks it can find its way around this patent problem and issued a defiant press release
yesterday containing words like confident and phrases like “not infringed.” In fact the release went on to say Verizon was actually found to have tried to copy Vonage technology.
So this matter is likely far (OK, perhaps somewhat far) from over and besides, I wonder if the Verizon patents have come under any scrutiny from the IP communications market. There are so many VoIP players who have been around since the nineties – it is interesting that Verizon has patents in the VoIP space but was last to roll out VoIP service.
Then again, it is possible they had a lab working overtime creating technology they never capitalized on. A look to Xerox
shows this scenario has played out before in corporate America.
So “the jury may still be out,” on the Vonage lawsuit. We will have to wait and see where this fight goes and who ends up winning the final rounds.