Ken Rutkowski, with whom I co-host the World Technology RoundUp forwarded me on this email, which after receiving the author's permission, I have agreed to post as a community service for all the Vonage customers and shareholders. I have removed the author's email address, but left his name on the email.
I am also posting the note between us, so the author's wishes are clearly explained.
In many ways, this sounds alot like what the media and blogosphere has reported to be Verizon's claim so it will be interesting to hear from Vonage and Verizon just what this means, as well as from any IP lawyers out there.
I don't mind at all. I will put out a disclaimer that I am not a patent lawyer, and don't know if this has a direct impact on the case or not. 3COM is the current assignee of this patent, and I am not sure they know what they are sitting on....
I can tell you that three of us from USR sat in a VP's office in the Personal Communications Division of USR back in Feb of 1996, and said, hey this VOIP thing is going to be big some day, how do we route calls from IP addresses on the net to phone numbers on the PSTN, and track all of this through a central server network? That was how it all got started.
From: "Michael J. Musiel"
Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2007 12:01:11 -0500
Subject: Vonage Contact?
I have had no luck contacting Vonage through their web site, so I
thought I should pass this along your way....
I originally wrote up this patent for USR back in early 1996 (US
patent number 6,529,501), it is now assigned to 3Com. The whole
purpose of this patent was how to address mapping computers, VOIP
phone devices, and regular phones to each other using the PSTN and
the Internet using central lookup servers to match phone numbers and
As far as I can tell, it covers most of the issues that Verizon sued
Vonage over. I'm a hardware/software engineer, not a patent lawyer,
so I don't know if any of has any implications. The Verizon patent
does not reference mine, nor mine theirs, which would mean that both
of our patent applications were in process at the same time and that
the examiners were not aware of the other application.
Anyway, food for thought,
R&D Consulting Engineering
Sheboygan Wisconsin and Copper Harbor Michigan
Could this be the solution to Vonage's legal woes? Will 3Com license what they have? Stay tunes as the dial turns....
Add on--Tom Keating had a similar experience from another source.