A subsidiary of Sprint Nextel Corp. on Tuesday sued three Internet telephone providers, claiming they were infringing Sprint's patents.
Sprint Communications Co. is seeking an injunction against Vonage Holdings Corp., Voiceglo Holdings Inc. and Theglobe.com, as well as unspecified damages.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court of Kansas, claims that the three companies are using technology developed by Sprint as far back as 2001 that processes voice calls into packets of data and delivers them over the Web, similar to e-mail. The industry often calls the technology voice over Internet protocol, or VOIP.
The suit doesn't explain how the companies are violating the patents, but company spokeswoman Debra Peterson said "we've been trying to work with these companies for more than a year."
With more than 1 million customers, Edison, N.J.-based Vonage is the country's largest provider of Internet-based telephone service. A spokeswoman for the company didn't immediately return a phone call Tuesday.
Voiceglo, based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is a subsidiary of Theglobe.com, which also owns a computer-based direct marketing service, a computer games distribution business and publishes Computer Games Magazine.
Ed Cespedes, president of both companies, said he was confident that Voiceglo was not infringing Sprint's technology.
"Either they don't understand our business or they're trying to say all VOIP is violating their patents," Cespedes said.