Verizon Files to Block Vonage Remand Request

Verizon today said Vonage is attempting to unfairly disrupt an appeals schedule set just last week with its Tuesday motion to vacate a lower court decision finding that Vonage infringed on Verizon’s patents.

Citing Monday’s Supreme Court decision in its KSR v. Teleflex decision, Vonage asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to delay the appeals process while the court rules on Vonage’s motion for a new trial.

In its own filing Wednesday, Verizon said Vonage’s motion “wastes the time of everyone – of this Court, the trial court, of jurors, of the litigants – by creating the prospect of three trials.”

Vonage wants the appeals court to send the case back to the district court for a new trial based on the Supreme Court’s ruling that an invention doesn’t qualify for a patent if it is obvious to those with knowledge of the skills involved.

Holmdel, N.J.-based Vonage now claims the Supreme Court decision warrants a new trial for Vonage, which has complained the district court too narrowly interpreted the obviousness of Verizon’s patents. If it loses that case, Vonage wants to again take up the appeals process already underway.

“KSR hardly blind-sided Vonage. The Supreme Court granted certiorari in KSR in June 2006, about the same time this lawsuit was filed,” Verizon wrote in its motion. “Yet Vonage never suggested to the district court (or to Verizon) that it believed KSR had any bearing on the facts of this case.”

As Verizon sees it, any delay in the appeals case will allow Vonage to continue to infringe on its patents. Verizon claims Vonage has already cost the telecom giant more than one million customers.

Last week, the appeals court granted Vonage a permanent stay against the lower court injunction against the Internet telephone company soliciting new customers while the case is under appeal. The appeals court also set an expedited appeals process with oral arguments scheduled for June 25.

“Vonage seeks to disrupt this specially created briefing schedule, which was a part of a decision allowing Vonage to expand its infringement of Verizon’s patents through massive new advertising, but only after a truncated appeal period,” Verizon wrote.

Verizon filed suit against Vonage in June 2006, claiming several instances of infringement, including inventions relating to “gateway interfaces between packet-switched and circuit-switched network, which is critical to implementing commercially viable VoIP telephony.”

Other patents named in the suit include solutions for fraud detection, services such as call forwarding and voicemail, and methods relating to the use of wireless handsets over a VoIP network. The jury ultimately decided Vonage infringed on three of the five patents cited by Verizon.

The jury awarded Verizon $58 million in damages for patent infringement by Vonage. In order to protect Verizon’s interest during the appeals process, the court ordered Vonage to post a $66 million bond and pay Verizon a 5.5 percent royalty rate for using Verizon technology while the case is on appeal.

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