So yesterday I wrote an entry titled Intellectual Property, The Other Defition of IP and later I wished I had the opportunity to shorten the title to Intellectual Property, The other IP. You know, a play on "Pork, the other white meat" slogan.
Little did I know that one day later there would be a wonderful opportunity to cover the topic again as VoIP Inc., a company with a number of patents in the VoIP space has announced they too will be looking to VoIP patents as a way to generate revenue.
So why didn’t I use my preferred title in this post? Simple… Because this post seems to apply to all companies using VoIP and moreover it could cause some damage in the industry. I wanted it to be clear that your company could soon be sued.
It is likely that VoIP Inc. will do better as a legal company then they have done in the service provider space. In fact the reason the company is shifting focus is likely because they couldn’t figure out how to monetize their technology effectively.
The specific patent in question is USPTO-6501837 and it covers pay-per-call and click to call technology.
If you are using VoIP in your business you may be getting a call from the company’s lawyers soon.
Here is an excerpt from a press release the company distributed today:
Based on information provided from some of the industry’s leading technology experts and the fact that this technology is being implemented at an ultra hyper rate domestically and internationally, Byron T. Ball, attorney at BALL LAW FIRM, LLP, stated, "I believe the current value of the patent could exceed 1.25 billion dollars."
"We have identified over 100 companies that have willfully infringed on our patents. We intend to stop the infringement and defend our technology and the patents behind it. These patents and the business they represent will be utilized to provide the shareholders with the value they deserve and have long awaited," stated CEO Anthony Cataldo. "Citing case studies, in reference to Click to Call, from Fortune 500 companies such as Continental Airlines, the ROI was 50x cost of service. The service showed a 35% lead conversion rate twice that of traditional leads and reduced website abandonment by over 25%."
The research firm Kelsey Group says Pay-Per-Call ad revenue in the U.S. in 2009 will top $4 billion. By comparison, all paid search ad revenue in the U.S. surpassed $4 billion in the first half of this year and is growing at more than a 40% per year clip.