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Monday, December 24, 2007

AT&T, Vonage End Patent Feud

Firms finalize a quick settlement in a patent infringement claim over VoIP technology.
NEW YORK, - Digital phone service Vonage (VG.N: Quote, Profile, Research) said on Friday it has settled a patent dispute with AT&T (T.N: Quote, Profile, Research).

Vonage was hit by a string of patent suits since going public in May 2006. It settled a suit with Sprint Nextel (S.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and another one with Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N: Quote, Profile, Research) in October.

AT&T sued the company, accusing it with using packet-based telephony products, which allows voice conversations to be carried over the Internet, based on products that use technology covered by AT&T patents.

Vonage did not disclose the nature of the settlement, which it said occurred on Nov.

A patent infringement lawsuit filed by AT&T against voice-over-IP telephony provider-Vonage has been settled, according to Vonage representatives.

The settlement brings an unusually speedy end to the lawsuit, which was filed by AT&T on Oct. 17. It alleged Vonage wilfully infringed an AT&T patent related to telephone systems that allow people to make VoIP (voice-over-Internet Protocol) calls using standard telephone devices. A breakdown in talks between the two companies over the issue led to the lawsuit, said AT&T at the time.

Less than a month later, on Nov. 7, the two companies said they had tentatively agreed to a settlement. At that time Vonage said it would pay AT&T around US$39 million under the terms of the settlement.

Final terms were not disclosed on Friday when, in a brief statement, Vonage said the dispute had been settled.

Vonage previously settled a patent suit with Verizon Communications for $80 million to $120 million, depending on the results of its appeal of a court ruling on two patents, and with Sprint Nextel for $80 million. As part of the Sprint Nextel deal Vonage agreed to license more than 100 patents covering technology for connecting calls from a traditional phone network to an IP network. The Verizon settlement came after a court found Vonage had infringed upon the carrier's patents

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