Court orders Vonage to pay for patent infringement

Internet telephone company Vonage Holdings was ordered in federal court to pay Sprint Nextel $69.5 million in damages for infringing on six telecommunications patents owned by Sprint Nextel, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report quoted Vonage in a written statement as saying that it would appeal the decision but also would begin developing workarounds so it won't need to use the disputed technology.

'We are disappointed that the jury did not recognize that our technology differs from that of Sprint's patents,' said Sharon O'Leary, chief legal officer for Vonage. 'Our top priority is to provide high-quality, reliable digital phone service to our customers.'

Matt Sullivan, a spokesman Sprint said the company was 'extremely pleased' with the verdict.

He added that Sprint plans to ask US District Judge John Lungstrum for a permanent injunction against Vonage using the patented technology.

It was the second verdict against Vonage this year. A jury in Virginia determined in March that Vonage had violated three Verizon patents in building its Internet phone system. The jury awarded Verizon $58 million in damages plus 5.5% royalties on future revenues.

Sprint sued Vonage in 2005, claiming the upstart company had infringed on seven Sprint patents for connecting and transmitting Internet phone calls, the report said.