Vonage, the VoIP service provider has been ordered to pay Verizon $58 million in a jury trial in Virginia. Verizon claimed that Vonage had infringed on several patents and the jury agreed awarding the amount to the phone company. Specifically, Vonage was found to infringe on three patents covering technology for VoIP voicemail and call waiting, call transfers involving VOIP sessions transferred to the PSTN, and how VOIP calls are handled over wireless networks.

Of course, Verizon is now seeking licensing revenues and an injunction preventing continued use of these features. Arghhh, the humanity of it all…

The lesson here, is that there is huge value in purchasing software and not building it yourself. Service providers need to avoid these kinds of hits, and vendors are in the best position to assure they are not infringing, or at least to warrant in the purchase agreement that they are not infringing or will indemnify the service provider from any infringement claims. Like these three.

Of course, I'm not certain that Vonage didn't purchase these features, but since they were the named litigant, I've assumed that there was no vendor involved, or almost as bad, a much smaller vendor.

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