March 24, 2007 in Business

Vonage faces injunction for using Verizon patents

Associated Press The Spokesman-Review

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A federal judge on Friday issued a permanent injunction against Internet phone carrier Vonage for use of rival Verizon Communications Inc.’s patents.

Judge Claude Hilton said an injunction, which followed a jury decision that Vonage had infringed on three Verizon patents, is required because simply providing monetary damages “does not prevent continued erosion of the client base of the plaintiff.”

Hilton said he will not formally enter the injunction for another two weeks while he considers Vonage’s request to stay the injunction. Vonage is requesting a stay of either 120 days or until its appeal is heard.

But Verizon lawyer Dan Webb said any of Vonage’s business difficulties should not be a factor in determining a stay. Webb said a stay will cause irreparable damage to Verizon because Vonage will continue to lock up the marketplace of Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP.

Webb said New York-based Verizon has already lost hundreds of thousands of customers to its competitor. Webb said Vonage officials have spent $425 million advertising their product “so they can lock up this emerging market and we can’t get a toehold in it.”

Verizon sued Vonage last year for infringing on five patents it said makes the Internet telephone service network functional.

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