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Vonage moves to void ruling on patents

May 02, 2007|From Bloomberg News

Internet telephone company Vonage Holdings Corp. asked a federal appeals court to throw out a patent verdict it lost in March in light of a Supreme Court opinion Monday.

The company Tuesday asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington to overturn a jury's verdict that Vonage infringed three Verizon Communications Inc. patents and to send the case back to the trial court.

Vonage was ordered to stop adding customers after losing the patent ruling. On April 24, the company won its request in the appeals court to continue business as usual while it appeals.

"We are very encouraged by the Supreme Court's decision," said Jeffrey Citron, chairman of Holmdel, N.J.-based Vonage. The ruling "should have positive implications for Vonage and our pending patent litigation with Verizon."

The Supreme Court devised a new test for determining when an invention is too obvious to warrant patent protection.

The ruling makes it harder for those applying for patents, as well as patent holders seeking to win infringement lawsuits, to show they have developed a genuine innovation.

"There is no merit" to the Vonage request, said John Thorne, New York-based Verizon's deputy general counsel. "It's a delaying tactic."

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