Claims of Prior Art In Verizon/Vonage Patent Infringement Case

Vonage's Marketing Campaign May Fizzle Out

Vonage has been saying Verizon’s patent claims are overly broad for some time, but now people have dug up some prior art.

One of the patents Verizon is complaining about is #6,104,711, what they call an “enhanced internet domain name server.”

In short, it’s all about linking phone numbers to IP numbers, and Jeff Pulver says he was doing that in 1995 with Free World Dialup, an early, noncommercial VoIP service.

Even better, Pulver published his work. The Internet Telephone Toolkit came out in January 1996, and a presentation that drew additional attention:

In November 1996, I gave a presentation to the VoIP Forum in Dallas. The meeting included participation from Cisco, Intel, Microsoft, IBM, Nokia, Motorola, and Vocaltec for the purpose of making [features of my work] the basis for a VoIP open standard. How do these companies feel about the Verizon’s assertion it owns the idea of name translation? How did Verizon accomplish this when the notion of name translation in H.323 traces back to the original ITU working group in 1993?

GigaOM » Doubts raised over Verizon VoIP patents

Tier 1 Research analyst Daniel Berninger agrees, noting the founding work done by Cisco Systems, Microsoft, IBM, Nortel, Intel, Motorola, Lucent, Vocaltec Communications, and other members of the VoIP forum is disclosed in Verizon’s later patent claims.