& cplSiteName &

Verizon Sues Charter Over VOIP Patents

Raymond McConville
LR Cable News Analysis
Raymond McConville
2/8/2008
50%
50%

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) has sued yet another service provider for patent infringement related to the intellectual property behind the transmission of VOIP calls. This time the victim is Charter Communications Inc. . The suit was filed Tuesday in a federal court in Texarkana, Texas.

Verizon has already successfully sued Vonage Holdings Corp. (NYSE: VG) for patent infringement and recently filed suit against Cox Communications Inc. (See Vonage Settles With Verizon and Verizon Sues Cox.) Just as in the Cox suit, Verizon is claiming that Charter infringed upon eight different patents -- four of which were tried in the Vonage case, with the court ruling in favor of Verizon on three of them.

Like the other cases, Verizon has asked for unspecified monetary damages and a court injunction blocking Charter from using the technology in the future. What's different in these latest two cases is the four new patents being brought to court. Some of the new patents deal with quality of service -- something Vonage isn't all that concerned with.

Additionally, in the Vonage case, Vonage was merely infringing upon the patents at hand; Cox and Charter are supposedly going so far as to invest money and develop networks based on the technology.

It's no secret that Verizon has steadily been losing wireline voice subscribers on a number of competitive fronts. It lost 8 percent of its primary access lines in 2007, much of that due to cable VOIP competition. This raises the question of whether Verizon plans to take more cable MSOs to court in order to thwart further line losses.

On the surface, it would appear that it is capable of doing this. All cable MSOs use the same basic PacketCable architecture for completing VOIP calls. If one is guilty of infringing Verizon's patents, it's conceivable that the others are as well.

"I would not be surprised if that's their strategy," said Fred Grasso, an attorney with Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP's intellectual property practice and a VOIP patent expert. "An overarching theme is that it seems Verizon is picking patents that are essential to providing VOIP service."

Grasso says all eight patents in the Cox case deal with systems and methods. Methods patents detail steps that are performed in completing VOIP calls. "If this method requires steps that are performed by multiple companies then it's very difficult if not impossible to not have that claim infringed," says Grasso. It is the systems patents that cover an exact specific system that can more easily help you make claims against a specific entity like Cox.

Grasso says Verizon has brought both these generic methods-type claims and specific systems claims against Cox. Having already successfully tried four of the eight patents against Vonage, Grasso says that it could be testing the four new ones before maybe going after others later on.

Meanwhile, Charter says that they "are presently analyzing Verizon's claims and our defenses and can't comment on it at this time. Charter intends to vigorously defend itself in this suit."

The other cable MSOs are certainly aware of what Verizon is up to. Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) for example, has acknowledged that it is aware of the suits but has not yet responded to requests for comment on its own potential vulnerability to a lawsuit.

The risk is there though. The Verizon patents in question are curiously vague. "They're not drafted to cover specific architecture," says Grasso. "There is a risk then that the larger providers are prone to this."

The district courts of Texas and Virginia (where the Cox suit is being tried) are known to work very quickly, so both of these cases could be over relatively quickly.

— Raymond McConville, Reporter, Light Reading

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
From The Founder
Either we perform a complete 'factory reset' on the way the telecom industry creates and deploys virtualization, or we face the consequences.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
The Urgency of Commercial 5G Services

4|26|17   |     |   (0) comments


The progress of 5G has been closely monitored in the industry. At the 2017 Brooklyn 5G Summit, the sense of urgency for a commercial 5G launch had started to surface among operators.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
How Diversity Helps Comcast Mirror Its Customer Base

4|26|17   |   2:55   |   (0) comments


Diversity brings innovation, creative ideas and a way to reflect the broad spectrum of your customer base, Comcast Director of Customer Experience Jenelle Champlin says.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Mobile Operators & Video

4|25|17   |     |   (0) comments


Ovum's Ed Barton discusses the latest mobile operator strategies for mobile video.
LRTV Custom TV
Infinera Introduces Instant Network

4|20|17   |     |   (1) comment


Mike Capuano, vice president of marketing at Infinera, discusses the advancement from Instant Bandwidth to new Instant Network capabilities, which include Bandwidth License Pools, Moveable Licenses and Automated Capacity Engineering (ACE).
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Vodafone's Eubank on Sponsors, Mentors & Moving On Up

4|19|17   |   4:25   |   (0) comments


Vodafone America's Head of Operations Kimberly Eubank breaks down the difference between a sponsor and a mentor and shares why both made a big difference in her career.
LRTV Custom TV
NYC Auto Show: Are We Smart Yet?

4|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


The auto industry is facing some big transformations as electric vehicles, autonomous technology and connected cars are seen as the future of the industry. During the much-anticipated NY international auto show, there was an emergence of new technology and mobility service on the show floor. Aside from performance, brands like Lincoln, Hyundai, Honda, Mercedes and ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Impact of Video

4|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


David Mercer from Strategy Analytics discusses the impact of video on current strategies.
LRTV Custom TV
Pardeep Kohli Discusses Network Transformation & the Market Opportunity for the 'New' Mavenir Systems

4|13|17   |     |   (0) comments


In a brief discussion at MWC 2017, Heavy Reading analyst Adi Kishore talks to Pardeep Kohli, CEO, Mavenir Systems about the creation of the 'new Mavenir' and some of the key challenges facing operators in today's market. A key theme of the discussion centers around operator need for software-only, virtualized solutions and how they will need to adapt to ...
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Tech Maverick Shares Her Tips for Gender Inclusivity

4|12|17   |   7:28   |   (0) comments


Wendy Hall Bohling, a corporate escapee, author and gender exclusivity consultant, tells her story of sexism, bias and progress along the road to gender equality in the workforce.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei at MWC 2017

4|11|17   |     |   (0) comments


At Mobile World Congress 2017, the biggest mobile industry gathering of the year, Huawei showcased its new innovations and solutions with the theme "Open Road," which focuses on cloud, 5G, operation transformation, videos and consumer-oriented products. Its campaign has been recognized by three awards given by GSMA.
LRTV Custom TV
China Telecom NFV Infrastructure on RSD

4|6|17   |     |   (0) comments


Lynn Comp, senior director of market development of Intel, is joined by Chong Zhang, storage engineer at Inspur and Ou Li Yan, architect for technology strategies of China Telecom, for a discussion of what NFV brings.
LRTV Custom TV
Nokia's IMPACT Software Demo

4|6|17   |     |   (0) comments


Khamis Abulgubein of IoT market development at Nokia demonstrates IMPACT (intelligent management platform for all connected things), a software solution with a horizontal approach to managing any device on any application.
Upcoming Live Events
May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
May 15, 2017, Brazos Hall - Austin, TX
May 15, 2017, Austin Convention Center - Austin, TX
June 6, 2017, The Joule Hotel, Dallas, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Surprise! AT&T Markets 4G Advances as '5G Evolution'
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/25/2017
Did Verizon Outbid AT&T for Straight Path?
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/25/2017
First Year TIPs the Scale Toward Success
Denise Culver, 4/24/2017
Ericsson's Q1 Even Worse Than Feared
Iain Morris, News Editor, 4/25/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
One of the nice bits of my job (other than the teeny tiny salary, obviously) is that I get to pick and choose who I interview for this slot on the Light Reading home ...
TEOCO Founder and CEO Atul Jain talks to Light Reading Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the challenges around cost control and service monetization in the mobile and IoT sectors.
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.