RealTime IT News

BellSouth, Comverse Settle Patent Spat

BellSouth will license telecom technology covered under two patents to Comverse , the companies announced today.

The deal settles a legal spat that has dragged on for more than a year. It also highlights an expanding source of revenue for the Baby Bell.

"BellSouth's intellectual property group has negotiated more than 100 licenses since it was formed in 1998, and now generates tens of millions of dollars in annual revenue," Brent Fowler, a BellSouth spokesman, told internetnews.com.

Last year, the Atlanta-based carrier was awarded 188 patents, more than double its 2003 tally. The overall portfolio has grown from 50 patents in 1998 to more than 500.

The intellectual property at the center of the dispute between BellSouth and Comverse involved call routing and voicemail features. Financial terms of the license agreement were not disclosed.

It's not the first time BellSouth has ended a patent suit by hammering out a license agreement. Previously, it struck a deals with Call Sciences and Glenayre Technologies .

BellSouth now has no pending patent infringement lawsuits outstanding.

"As for licensing, we are in active talks with companies over the licensing of our patents," Fowler said. "Our pending licensing discussions involve the patents asserted against Comverse as well as other patents."

In other BellSouth news, the company said yesterday that it has chosen Tellabs and JDS Uniphase to round out its list of technology suppliers for its next-generation broadband network deployment. The value of the contracts was not disclosed.

Other vendors previously announced for the upgrade, which includes fiber-optic cable and optical components, include Alcatel and Redback Networks.