Friday, April 06, 2007

Patent dispute between Vonage and Verizon: Injunction issued against Vonage

On Friday April 6 a federal U.S. District Court judge in Virginia, Claude Hilton, told Vonage Holdings that it may not add new customers to use its service that could connect to the public telephone network. It may continue to service existing customers. This case relates to a patent dispute with Verizon. Vonage had been founded in 2001 and has never made a profit. Apparently, larger companies like Comcast have been moving in on the Internet telephone market without encountering these same legal patent problems.

Alan Sipress has a story in The Washington Post, “Judge Rules Vonage Cannot Add New Customers,” at this link. Another story is here.

As a general rule, "judicial activism" and "judicial review" have become more controversial lately. Here is a book review on the topic on blogger.
Judge Hilton is well known for issuing usually conservative rulings, such as in a challenge to the military gay ban back in the mid 1990s. He has often written that controversial social and economic issues should be understood and addressed by voters (whom he views as a bit complacent) pro-actively, with minimal reliance on the judiciary to overthrow troubling laws.

Update: 4/7/2007

Late Friday night, an appeals court in Richmond postponed the injunction against Vonage. Story by Alan Sipress and Sabrina Valle is here.

Update:Alan Spiress, Vonage Wins Stay in Patent Dispute, The Washington Post, April 25, 2005, p D03, here.