Vonage files to vacate patent ruling

Internet based phone company Vonage has asked the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington D.C. to vacate and remand a U.S. District Court's judgement and injunction against it in a patent dispute with Verizon. In a court case between KDR International and Teleflex, the U.S. Supreme Court recently disagreed with the lower court and rejected new patent applications on the grounds that they were merely "obvious" combinations of existing technology. In particular, Vonage argued in its brief that the validity of Verizon's name translation and wireless patents should be retried by the U.S. District Court in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's April 30, 2007 decision.

Vonage said it was pleased with the high court's decision, which it said mean that "the obviousness question should not be determined in a narrow, rigid manner that denies common knowledge, but rather should incorporate a more expansive and flexible approach that allows for consideration of common sense when assessing whether an invention is ordinary or obvious, and thus ineligible for patent protection. Vonage is confident this ruling should have a positive impact on its case."

Vonage has been fighting for its survival since June, 2006, when Verizon filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court claiming infringement of VoIP patents Verizon claimed. In March, a jury ruled that Vonage had infringed on the Verizon patents and ordered the company to pay $58 million in damages and royalties to Verizon. A judge slapped Vonage with an injunction later that month that barred the company from signing up new customers until the patent dispute was settled, though a permanent stay of that injunction was granted in April until Vonage's appeal could be heard.

News source: InfoWorld

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