Vonage has been ordered to pay Verizon 58 million dollars and (here is the real problem) 5.8% of future revenue for patent infringement. If that wasn’t enough nails in Vonage’s coffin (remember they have yet to turn a profit) Verizon is still seeking a permanent injunction to prevent Vonage from using the patents.
This is a bad sign for those of us who have become accustomed to paying (almost) nothing for VoIP phone service. My hunch is that Vonage will not be the last target of Verizon’s patent infringement lawsuits… only time will tell…
The larger concern is that all of the traditional telecoms and telecom manufacturers begin to dig through their vault of patents in search of opportunities to use patent law to stifle competition. To get a feel for what I mean just to a Google patent search for “voicemail system”.