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Wayport Faces Patent Battle

Wayport Inc. is facing a surprise patent infringement battle with Internet access minnow PowerOasis Inc., Unstrung has learned.

In its filing this week with the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts, PowerOasis claims the hotspot service provider infringes two patents “that provide for the sale of telecommunications services, such as high-speed Internet access, on a pay-as-you-go basis in public locations like airports.”

Founded in 1996, New-Hampshire-based PowerOasis lauds itself as “the pioneer of pay-as-you-go Internet access,” claiming to provide wired and wireless Internet access in 21 airports and in eight public buildings in five states.

In contrast, Wayport touts more than 3,000 Internet access point locations (see Verizon Joins Wayport Gang and Wayport Macs Up).

Specific details on the patents were not forthcoming, but PowerOasis states in its court papers that “Wayport has deprived PowerOasis of the ability to sell and expand its services in airports and other locations, including hotels, to an extent that cannot be calculated, but that has severely hampered PowerOasis in its effort to expand its business.”

“Wayport is capitalizing on our technology and damaging our business by infringing our patents,” adds PowerOasis president, Thomas M. Duff Jr. “We will not stand by and let them continue to do so.”

Wayport appears ready for battle. "Wayport hasn't formally been served with a lawsuit yet -- in fact we had never even been contacted by PowerOasis before they filed this suit -- but we have obtained a copy of the documents and begun our review," writes a company spokeswoman in an email note to Unstrung. "We believe that the claims made are without merit and intend to vigorously contest them."

— Justin Springham, Senior Editor, Europe, Unstrung

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