Charlotte Wolter reported yesterday about an October 4 lawsuit filing:
Sprint Corp. has filed a patent-infringement lawsuit against three VoIP service providers: Vonage Holdings Corp., Voiceglo Holdings Inc. and theglobe.com Inc., the parent company of Voiceglo. The suit was filed in the U. S. District Court for the District of Kansas.
According to Sprint, the suit charges that the three companies have “willfully infringed” on seven patents relating to “voice-over-packet technology developed by Sprint Nextel.”
The lawsuit seeks an injunction to prevent the companies from using the alleged Sprint Nextel technology and also seeks unspecified monetary damages.
A Sprint statement described the patents as protecting “a series of innovations that enable the processing and delivery of packetized voice and data communications, including voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) communications.”
Indeed, Sprint is the only major incumbent that does not yet have a consumer VoIP offering. In the spring of 2005, financial press and blog reports linked the company with an effort to buy Vonage, though neither company confirmed the reports. The Sprint action comes at a time when Vonage is widely believed to be on the brink of announcing its initial public offering, though that company has not confirmed or denied the rumors.
The refusal by Sprint to provide even minimal details of the patents it believes are being violated also is unusual. When a company takes action on a patent violation, it usually provides some indication of the technologies involved.