Sprint Sues Vonage Over VoIP Patent

Sprint Nextel late Tuesday announced that it had filed suit against two Internet telephone providers -- Vonage and Voiceglo -- accusing the companies of violating patents surrounding the processing and delivery of packets in a voice over IP (VoIP) connection.

Altogether Sprint claims seven patents were violated: four having to do with the "method, system and apparatus for telecommunications control," and three surrounding the "broadband telecommunications system."

Sprint spokesperson Debra Peterson told BetaNews that the company is seeking a injunction that would prevent further use of Sprint's technologies, and monetary damages related to the two company's past use of the technologies without Sprint's permission.

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Vonage spokesperson Katherine Foster said that the company would not comment on the lawsuit. Voiceglo, however, issued a statement Tuesday evening.

"Voiceglo's technology is unique, proprietary and patent pending. Though we are still reviewing the complaint, we believe that it has no merit and we believe that in due course the courts will agree with us and ultimately settle the matter in our favor," Ed Cespedes, President of theglobe.com and Voiceglo, said.

The lawsuit carries more than just a possible legal problem for Vonage. The company was in the process of preparing for an IPO, and Tuesday's news could put the public offering on hold indefinitely if Vonage cannot get the suit dismissed.

It is also not immediately clear how a win by Sprint could affect the operations of the two providers. Vonage stands to lose the most as the nation's number one VoIP provider with over 1 million customers.

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