Death of VOIP Could Signal a Flaw in Patent Protection

A judge issued an injunction against Vonage, preventing them from signing on new customers.  Vonage previously lost a patent fight against Verizon and has been asked to pay $58 million in damages plus a stiff royalty fees for using Verizon technologies.

Vonage has previously indicated that they did not expect to see any customer impact from the initial rulling.  However, every subsequent ruling that comes out seems to go Verizon's way and that is starting to spell extreme trouble for Vonage.

It could be possible that this trouble will spread out to other VOIP services and technologies.  Could Verizon rise up again to dominate consumer's ability to communicate via voice? 

Vonage may have used technologies patented by Verizon, however, without companies like Vonage and Skype it is very unlikely that Verizon would have done anything useful with the technology themselves.

Patent laws are established to enable inventors to capitalize on their inventions and justify the research and development process and funds.  But what happens when a company like Verizon does the research and doesn't exploit the technology, opting instead for an older technology that continues to enable them to milk profits from consumers without providing any advances?

Maybe the patent laws should be altered in a way that strips the patent holder of their ownership rights if the patent is not only exploited but taken to a commercial level within a period of 5 years.  This might incent companies to act on their advances even when those advances might hurt older product lines.

Link to Judge bars Vonage from adding new customers - MarketWatch

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