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Vonage Hit With $69.5M Judgement

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the hard-to-get-customers-after-that dept.

Patents 234

andy1307 writes "The Washington Post is reporting that Net telephone company Vonage Holdings Corp. was ordered in federal court Tuesday to pay Sprint Nextel $69.5 million in damages for infringing on six telecommunications patents owned by competitor Sprint Nextel Corp. In addition to the damages, jurors awarded Sprint Nextel a 5 percent royalty from Vonage on future revenues. 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 percent royalties on future revenues. Greg Gorbatenko, a telecommunications and media analyst for Jackson Securities, said the decision 'feels like a death knell' for Vonage because future revenue will likely dry up, preventing the company from investing in better technology or improving customer service."

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And so, the incumbent telcos smugly feel... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20750449)

... they have destroyed VOIP as a threat, and they can go about their usual greedy, grasping ways. Sprint will raise a glass to Verizon and toast to their continued wealth.

But there will come a day when we will kick their corporate corpses and spit on them.

A perfect example of patents destroying innovation (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20750529)

This is a perfect example of how patents utterly destroy innovation.

Here we have Vonage, offering a novel and efficient solution to global communication. They're opening up new possibilities. Yet the incumbents dare not face true competition, so they quash this innovative burst of talent. And what do we get? Less innovation, and less economic efficiency.

Re:A perfect example of patents destroying innovat (4, Insightful)

jelton (513109) | more than 6 years ago | (#20750995)

This is a perfect example of how bad patent laws and poor bureaucratic administartion utterly destroy innovation.

Fixed for you.

Re:A perfect example of patents destroying innovat (0, Troll)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#20751017)

What are you talking about?! If someone invents something and is patent whoring it so nobody else can use it to compete, that CAUSES innovation not stomps it. Just innovate and invent something better. A bunch of companies trying to steal each others' technology so nothing ever improves is the opposite of innovation. Then you just get a bunch of knock-off crap. If dialup and dsl technologies were perfectly open patents for everyone to use, we'd still be using them because companies would be stuck on "Wow that dialup service is awesome and everyone's getting it! Let's copy it!" With people paying royalties and getting permission to use those inventions, they just say screw it, we can do better and invent cable and fiber and microwave transmission etc.

Re:A perfect example of patents destroying innovat (1)

PsychosisBoy (1157613) | more than 6 years ago | (#20751083)

Another way to look at it is that some technologies, in order to move forward, need to use current, patented technologies as a basis. If other companies are not allowed to use these existing technologies as a jumping-off point for further innovation, only the patent-holders will be able to do it... and if they AREN'T doing it for whatever reason, then it will remain stagnant.

Re:A perfect example of patents destroying innovat (4, Interesting)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 6 years ago | (#20751221)

What are you talking about?! If someone invents something and is patent whoring it so nobody else can use it to compete, that CAUSES innovation not stomps it.
When the patent is something overly broad, along the lines of "sending telephone conversations over a packet switched network" (which is essentially what the Verizon/Sprint patents amount to) then it is stifling innovation.

If dialup and dsl technologies were perfectly open patents for everyone to use, we'd still be using them because companies would be stuck on "Wow that dialup service is awesome and everyone's getting it! Let's copy it!" With people paying royalties and getting permission to use those inventions, they just say screw it, we can do better and invent cable and fiber and microwave transmission etc.
Cable, fiber, and microwave as alternatives to dsl/dialup have bloody fuck-all to do with working around patents. You really think cable companies created DOCSIS because there were patents on (say) ATM DSL? If so, you're a fucking idiot. Cable companies created cable data protocols because their infrastructure is coax, not copper fucking pairs. I'm not even going to dignify the "fiber and microwave" bits with a response, as any half-intelligent fool knows that both technologies predate commercial dialup and DSL internet access by DECADES.

Re:And so, the incumbent telcos smugly feel... (5, Interesting)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 6 years ago | (#20750577)

No, they don't feel that they have destroyed VOIP as a threat. They've destroyed someone who was using VOIP to threaten their monopoly. I'm sure that we'll see Sprint, Verizon and ATT provide VOIP at some point as a legitimate alternate to a landline. And to some extent, they already do. But there will never, ever be a new company that will rely on VOIP to become a legitimate telco competitor. Because before that company will become a legitimate competitor, the incumbents will have sued it into the ground. $100 million verdicts are tough for an incumbent, but not a deal-breaker. $100 million verdicts are death sentences for anyone trying to start a competitor.

The only day that we will kick their corporate corpses is if we get rid of stupid patents and actually enforce anti-trust regulations (note to the FCC: cable and satellite providers are no more competitors to ATT than pencils and markers are competitors to Bic). And I don't see that coming anytime soon.

Re:And so, the incumbent telcos smugly feel... (1, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 6 years ago | (#20750583)

But there will come a day when we will kick their corporate corpses and spit on them.

That day will only come when the US Government, as we currently know and love it, dissolves because until then, it will be illegal to spit on those that fund our lawmakers pet projects.

Re:And so, the incumbent telcos smugly feel... (2, Insightful)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#20750889)

Pet projects (like the bridge to nowhere, or 50+ Robert Byrd memorial buildings) are paid for by the taxpayer, which the federal gov't has no compunction about spitting upon. If the taxpayers (and voters) didn't hand them unlimited power in exchange for aiding "the poor", "the middle class", "the retired" and "the children", lobbyists and special interests wouldn't receive federal favors.

Re:And so, the incumbent telcos smugly feel... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20751273)

for the children...
bah.
"the children" are obviously the biggest POLITICAL WHORES ever to curse the face of the earth...

Re:And so, the incumbent telcos smugly feel... (1)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 6 years ago | (#20750699)

they have destroyed VOIP as a threat, and they can go about their usual greedy, grasping ways

eh, Vonage isn't much better than the telcos in the respect..

Re:And so, the incumbent telcos smugly feel... (2, Insightful)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#20750937)

Well, I hope Vonage continues, as I like their service. If it goes under though, the city telecom offers POTS over their shiny new fiber optic lines. The only reason I didn't get that with the TV and internet is because its more expensive than Vonage.

Re:And so, the incumbent telcos smugly feel... (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#20750991)

so if I invent something totally awesome and new and amazing for sending communications over a medium it wasn't intended to be sent like a way for people to talk to each other using their thoughts then I should immediately lose tons and tons of revenues to everyone else cuz I can't horde my own idea in patent form and actually make some money? I'm not saying screw competition cuz I'm gonna milk my invention dry either. Competition would simply be someone inventing something better. If one single company held a patent for DSL and horded the price then forget DSL patent hording, just invent cable and fiber internet. Of course, that didn't happen as far as I know, it's just an example.
At least this time it's a company that's actually using a patent suing another company for using their patented technology instead of some middle of nowhere, dead end, patent troll company that would never use their patents for anything real suing just to make money.
Plus don't you know the history of phone companies? They're all just gonna split and merge so it's all the same money anyway. I'd be very surprised if Sprint didn't use the money they just won to buy Vonage lol.

Vonage was just more corporate evil. (3, Interesting)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 6 years ago | (#20751179)

I'd feel bad for Vonage except they already screwed me this year so I learned the hard way they were no less evil than any other phone company. I had been a customer of Vonage a year or so ago. I had several lines and had bought a couple decent phones to go with their service. I still have the boxes and receipts for these phones. I moved, switched jobs, etc and canceled my service until I'd gotten settled back in. When I go to turn my service back on I find out that they'd managed to leave one line subscribed. They swear up and down that there is no way I could have canceled my other lines without canceling that line unless I'd specified for that to happen. So if I want to get service back I'll have to pay the monthly fees and extra fees for that line before I can re-open my account. They never even sent me any kind of paper notice letting me know a line was still connected and going unpaid. Supposedly they emailed me the notice to my dead old work account and that I should have made sure they had an updated email address before I canceled my account. So fine, I argue with them for a while and get nowhere so I figure I'll just sign my wife up an account instead and worry about the fees later. No go - they lock the devices to individual users accounts. You can't switch them to another account even if you've previously disabled the phone from your account to add a different, more expensive, phone to your account. Okay this sucks - I check the packaging and none of the phones says anything about being locked to the vendor let alone to a specific account. The only note I have about this policy is a blurp that came with the original phone I got with my service and I'd assumed it'd only count for that phone as they gave me a discount off the price for signing up. The other phones I'd bought I couldn't get the discount because I was already a Vonage customer. Several hundred dollars down the drain with some nice VoIP phones I can no longer use at all and I chose not to open my wife a new account if I couldn't use the phones I'd already purchased.

This is ass stupid behavior from a company. I had been a loyal customer who frequently told people how good their service was. Now I tell them how much Vonage sucks and to beware their dishonest business practicies. Brilliant move. Giving me a $100 credit for service I didn't use would have got my business back for years to come.

Re:Vonage was just more corporate evil. (1)

CottonThePirate (769463) | more than 6 years ago | (#20751517)

I'm sure the pages will fill will Vonage horror stories. They have $40 of mine that they owe me back but I'll never see. Vonage makes AT&T seem like, well AT&T. I don't see a big difference between them, both slimy greedy telcom companies with products that are ok unless you have an issue, then you're screwed.

Re:And so, the incumbent telcos smugly feel... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20751241)

.. they have destroyed VOIP as a threat, and they can go about their usual greedy, grasping ways. Sprint will raise a glass to Verizon and toast to their continued wealth.


Gentlemen. . .to evil.

second post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20750465)

Reply for high exposure!

Damn... (5, Insightful)

Cervantes (612861) | more than 6 years ago | (#20750493)

Damn, I wish I'd remembered to patent "connecting phone calls over the internet" when I thought about it... oh, the first time I saw a microphone attached to a PC.
Seriously, 8 random people who aren't smart enough to get out of jury duty are considered smart enough to understand the fine points of patent law and internet telephony? And this is enough to cripple a (relatively) small startup company? Can someone remind me what Sprint/Nextel did with these oh-so-valuable patents, and what Vonage did that cost them tens of millions of dollars? Besides not paying sprint tens of millions of dollars, that is.

Re:Damn... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20750569)

Well, speaking for myself, I flipped the telcos the bird (as hard as I could) and gave my dollars to Vonage instead for the past 3 years. Multiply that by however many other people who did the same, and it adds up to something.

The most disgusting part of all of this is that the telcos let the little guys take all the risks, prove and market the technology to the public, and show that there is a viable market for VoIP phone service. They they realized that they could squeeze more money out of consumers than Vonage et.al. were, but the only way to do that was put them out of business. I can't help but wonder if this is what our Founding Fathers(TM) had in mind when they envisioned the patent system.

Perhaps the most disheartening thing though, is the question: How many of the violated patents held by Sprint/Verizon are being infringed by the other under the blessing of cross licensing? I'd bet a big bag of money it's greater than zero.

Re:Damn... (5, Insightful)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 6 years ago | (#20750651)

who aren't smart enough to get out of jury duty
Now if only we were all smart enough to realize that this might be a source of our problems.

Re:Damn... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20750911)

Its strange, as a fan of Law and Order, I've always wanted to serve on a jury (yes, I know the process, many friends and relatives have enlightened me as to how it sucks, but still). I had a juror summons recently and they wanted me on quite literally one of the 3 days per year that I absolutely cannot do it because of my job. I sent an e-mail to the address on the summons, received no response, didn't show up, and received no additional summons/notifications/letters/whatever. If it is that easy to dodge jury duty (and I want to be a juror!), I wonder who exactly is on these juries.

Forgive me for posting as AC for obvious reasons.

Re:Damn... (1)

NemoinSpace (1118137) | more than 6 years ago | (#20751019)

Except this was the second jury that was "too stupid" to get out of jury duty but seemed smart enough to basically come to the same conclusion as the first. (Along with stupid judges,stupid attorneys and all the other stupid people that deal with patent law every day of their lives)

Jurors in Kansas City brushed aside those claims, determining that Vonage violated the patents and did it deliberately, meaning Lungstrum could triple the damages if he agrees with the verdict.
Instead Vonage's legal team chose too present their case to the "stupid people" and role the dice. TWICE. Who's stupid now?
I know patent laws get all sides up in arms on slashdot, but businesses know the rules and know the price of admission. Ad hominem attacks calling people stupid because they don't see things your way may be marked insightful but it doesn't prove a point or change the rule of law.
I am a Vonage subscriber (and I don't shirk my responsibility to serve on juries when called) and I hope, after they fire the lawyer that got them into this mess, that a few engineers will work out the kinks. In the meantime I can't figure out how after 20 years of breaking up Ma Bell the same people are letting them congeal back into the massive pile of crap they were to begin with. That, methinks is the bigger upset.

Re:Damn... (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#20751107)

There's two sides to the problem - one is that people try so hard to get out of jury duty and the other being that the remaining pool is shallower for it. Jury duty is a civic duty like voting, but of too few people do either then that leaves the respective systems up for more abuse than would otherwise happen.

Re:Damn... (4, Interesting)

drydirt (1161445) | more than 6 years ago | (#20751227)

Now if only we were all smart enough to realize that this might be a source of our problems.

On the other hand, realistically, how could eight randomly chosen citizens with no experience in the telecommunications field possibly come to an educated decision? Isn't a trial of this nature really just going to come down to which lawyer has the most winning personality (or the best ability to "dumb it down" in a way a layperson can understand?)

I understand we as individuals are entitled to be tried by a jury of our peers, but when one multinational corporation is suing another are eight Kansas City residents really "peers?"

And no, I don't have a better alternative to suggest, but something is clearly broken here.

Re:Damn... (1)

enrevanche (953125) | more than 6 years ago | (#20751541)

It's not this simple. Jury selection is made by lawyers who want jurors that they can manipulate. They don't want jurors that can think for themselves. So the court room becomes a big stage performing a farce, with half-assed actor-attorneys playing to the emotions of the jurors.

got facts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20750831)

anybody have a professional review of the patents and how they compare to vonage and their technology? as well as a professional opinion on wether there was infringment or not? now any tin foil hat wearing fool can jump to the conclusion that there must be some kind of collusion or conspiracy or even advantage being taken that is due to protect profits for investors. also keep in mind that vonage would have to approve of the jury selection as well. so i assume they did not just settle with the first 12 guys named joe or other similar scientific process. they also had the chance to give "facts" as they saw them. there seems to be a lack independant review, at least publicly, of the disputed patents.

No Nerds Needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20750495)

Better lawyers needed

Investing in better technology? (4, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | more than 6 years ago | (#20750505)

From a customer viewpoint, I like Vonage because it's cheaper than a local phone, but I can't say I've seen any particular improvement in the service for the three years that I've been a customer. It works fine. There are some features, such as separate voicemail boxes for family members, which I've waited in vain for all along. Instead they introduced speech-to-text but are charging extra for it. Totally automated services like that ought to be free add-ons to differentiate themselves from "old-fashioned" telephone and nickle-and-diming cellphone companies. I'm not sure what their long-term plan is. Simply bridging between the Internet and POTS can't be all that hard.

Re:Investing in better technology? (3, Insightful)

greenbird (859670) | more than 6 years ago | (#20750623)

I'm not sure what their long-term plan is. Simply bridging between the Internet and POTS can't be all that hard.

It is when the only way you can implement it is with the approval of and huge payoffs to the industry oligarchs that currently control telecommunications and who's market VoIP is undermining.

Re:Investing in better technology? (1)

loid_void (740416) | more than 6 years ago | (#20750833)

I can say that the service I had with Vonage was awful. I switched over 3 phone lines and fax and all hell broke loose. Yes they have really neat features and great pricing. On one number I had 4 phones, it's suppose to handle 5, nope, didn't happen. They switched my phone numbers in 24 hours, but go and try and get them back, it took weeks (so much for the 30 day money back garauntee, it doesn't exist) Good luck to them, but they have a ways to go.

Re:Investing in better technology? (3, Interesting)

techstar25 (556988) | more than 6 years ago | (#20750861)

From a customer viewpoint, I like Vonage because it's cheaper than a local phone, but I can't say I've seen any particular improvement in the service for the three years that I've been a customer. It works fine.
That's the point. If they offer the identical service as my old phone company for $20/month less (ie. free long distance), then it's totally worth it.
Is Vonage cutting edge? No.
Are they innovating? No.
Can they save everybody at least $20/month on their phone bill? Yes.

Re:Investing in better technology? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20751367)

Yes, it works "fine." But in the three years I've used it, there have been no innovations whatsoever.

There website voicemail is extremely crappy. They never heard of:
a) folders to sort messages into?
b) letting me annotate a message indicating it's content?

i've seen this problem before. (4, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 6 years ago | (#20750507)

In addition to the damages, jurors awarded Sprint Nextel a 5 percent royalty from Vonage on future revenues.

The correct legal strategy here is, change their name to an unpronounceable symbol, and force everyone to call them "the telecommunications company formerly known as Vonage".

Thats too bad. (1)

Javi0084 (926402) | more than 6 years ago | (#20750511)

I find Vonage to be an excellent company. I've had service with them for over a year and it'll be sad to watch them die if they do.

Re:Thats too bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20750579)

ditto. It hasn't been perfect, but there are some things about it that I can't imagine going without - like having my voicemail emailed to me...

Re:Thats too bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20750643)

I use it to telecommute, Cause I use upwards of 3-4 hours long-distance a day sitting on conference calls, etc.

If I was to have to pay for this, I think my only choice would be to find a new job (not joining calls is not an option).

Does anyone know any other provider who do 1 monthly fee, free LD in north america?

Re:Thats too bad. (1)

Seraphim1982 (813899) | more than 6 years ago | (#20750749)

If you have a real phone line, then most of the big long distance companies offer an unlimited plan.
A quick check showed plans from AT&T, and MCI, were avaible.

Re:Thats too bad. (4, Interesting)

Jerry Rivers (881171) | more than 6 years ago | (#20750823)

"If you have a real phone line, then most of the big long distance companies offer an unlimited plan.
A quick check showed plans from AT&T, and MCI, were avaible."

Sure they do, but at more than double the price I pay Vonage.

Re:Thats too bad. (1)

davidtupper (228631) | more than 6 years ago | (#20751047)

Yes, more expensive alternatives are available. Some companies are also offering VOIP (like Comcast). But for a home phone line, particularly in my situation Vonage is the best option. Comcast keeps trying to get me to use their VOIP but it is 60% more expensive without some features that I require. For instance, Vonage has what they call Virtual numbers, an incoming line that can be almost anywhere. This is convenient as most of my family, as well as my wifes, are located in one geographic area which is a long distance call. So for $4.95US we get a number which is a local call for them and it rings our regular line. This is not offered by Comcast. Also, with Comcast, your VOIP interface is integrated with your cable modem, with Vonage it is seperate. This way if we go on vacation, all we need to do is take the Vonage box and a cheap phone and we can call anywhere we have high speed internet access, like a hotel room. Vonage is not perfect for everyone, even me, but it is more useful than the alternatives at this point.

David Tupper

Re:Thats too bad. (2, Informative)

Joe Tie. (567096) | more than 6 years ago | (#20750959)

You could try skype with skypein, I don't think it's unlimited, but at prices where it might as well be.

Re:Thats too bad. (1)

WhoBeDaPlaya (984958) | more than 6 years ago | (#20751453)

This works pretty well actually. IINM, I end up paying ~$55 for a year of service and all I have to to is get a Skype USB adapter, hook it up to the torrent/file/web/misc server and add an extra service entry in FireDaemon.

Re:Thats too bad. (1)

anagama (611277) | more than 6 years ago | (#20750999)

OK, don't take this as a suggestion because I hate the telecos in general. I tried vonage for a while for my business but there was this strange problem of people calling my number and getting a "disconnected" message. Mind you, this was 2 years ago but my business depends on a working incoming number so I had to bail. When I switched back to Qwest, I noticed they had a $75 "unlimited long distance in the U.S." plan (business service) for one line. I was sad to have to give up my two lines for $50 with vonage which included the same type of service for all of N. America (US + Canada), but it had to be done. I was losing more than $100 price difference between the cost of two lines. So anyway, grit your teeth and check out your normal crappy POTS carrier. They may have something that will work -- order it, then go take a shower with powerful disinfectant soap to clean off.

enil neerg etaucave (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20750531)

test.

Good thing... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20750591)

I'm using one of the many smaller VOIP companies that lets me use asterisk and/or any SIP hardware/software combination I want rather than crap that's locked to a single provider and let's me pay only for the minutes I use without any monthly fee.

F Vonage.

Absurd (5, Interesting)

cdn-programmer (468978) | more than 6 years ago | (#20750597)

This is utterly absurd.

In 1985 I worked out everything that was required to do this and in fact even went so far as to track down Dialog cards so I could interface a PC to a T1 line.

There is NOTHING required that is worthy of a patent. NOTHING at all. This is all a totally obvious idea and relatively easy to implement. In fact it is so obvious that when I started working on the project I never even considered that patents would be available.

I never finished that project. I was a single parent working at home and my kids at the time decided I should not be allowed to program. Alas.

Now of course we have projects like Asterisk and its quite mature.

So how does this ruling affect projects like Asterisk? (www.asterisk.org)

Are we banned from plugging a hand held device that contains both a speaker and a microphone into a computer now? Or are we banned from connecting the computer to the telco switch, which BTW is a computer.

Maybe we are banned from connecting a computer which is called a PC to a computer which is called a switch via a network which has been in common use for decades.

To the fellow who points out that people who are too dumb to get out of jury duty are put in charge of million dollar technical decisions which they cannot possibly understand.... yes. You are 100% correct and you make an excellent post.

Its clear that lawyers have managed to turn technical progress into a game of craps. IMHO this is something the public needs to be more aware of and somehow it would be nice if our pollies could be held accountable for the bad legislation they created. We really need to get patent business out of the computer business.

Re:Absurd (5, Insightful)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 6 years ago | (#20750705)

To the fellow who points out that people who are too dumb to get out of jury duty are put in charge of million dollar technical decisions which they cannot possibly understand.... yes. You are 100% correct and you make an excellent post.
Seriously though, why would ANYONE consider it smart to get out of jury duty when the decisions of the juries impacts case law like no other. Why is "Getting out of jury duty" considered smart? Yes, it is a hassle and there are opportunity costs involved, but think of the cost of ALL JURIES BEING RETARDED.

In fact, i think we may be seeing that cost all over the friggan place at the moment.

Re:Absurd (1)

Arethan (223197) | more than 6 years ago | (#20750829)

Seriously though, why would ANYONE consider it smart to get out of jury duty when the decisions of the juries impacts case law like no other. Why is "Getting out of jury duty" considered smart? Yes, it is a hassle and there are opportunity costs involved, but think of the cost of ALL JURIES BEING RETARDED.

Because they don't actually tell you what the case is about until you hear the opening statements?

Seriously. There are plenty of time wasting jury trials out there, and out of the whole lot of them I'd wager that only somewhere around 1% are actually worth being a part of for the sake of keeping technology unfucked.

Juries haven't been panels of peers in the computer business because they use juries built from the common populace, and that means that technologically savvy people are still a vast minority within them. If they wanted to make law a little more useful, they'd use demographically driven jury selection for cases involving specialty areas like technology.

Oh well, we'll just keep digging this hole. After all, it's "worked" thus far...

Re:Absurd (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 6 years ago | (#20751105)

We have an "Adversarial Justice System" which seems to mean that we have a prosecution/plaintiff, a defense, and 12d2.

But it's because of the GP's point that a lot of otherwise smart people seem to think it's a good idea to avoid jury duty simply because it's a personal inconvenience. If you agree that taxes are necessary to being a functioning member of society, I fail to see how you could disagree that jury duty would also be necessary.

Because the jury selection process is corrupted. (3, Interesting)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 6 years ago | (#20750935)

Seriously though, why would ANYONE consider it smart to get out of jury duty when the decisions of the juries impacts case law like no other. Why is "Getting out of jury duty" considered smart? Yes, it is a hassle and there are opportunity costs involved, but think of the cost of ALL JURIES BEING RETARDED.

Because the jury selection process has been corrupted to the point that anyone with any background in the subject in question, or an engineering background in general, will be deliberately excluded from the selection.

If I understand it correctly, this apparently started out to avoid having jury members bring into their deliberations any personal knowledge of information that is not in evidence (and thus was not subject to challenge by the litigating parties). But the net effect is to exclude exactly those people with the educational toolkit to make informed judgements on technical issues, rather than being led around by the rhetorical skills of the attorneys.

People with technical backgrounds are, in fact, excluded from most trials. The ability to reason logically is seen as a liability by both prosecuting and defending attorneys.

One result is that the panels finally selected are far from a statistical sample of the population - with a statistical bias that subverts the intent of the jury system - and thus justice - to an extreme degree.

The other result is that going through jury selection is, for most technical people (along with anybody with a strong political position, knowledge of guns or crime, etc.), a massive waste of time. They will almost never be selected.

= = = =

By the way: You won't find the phrase "jury of his peers" in the US legal system. This is because we're all supposed to be peers before the law. Thus you have no case if you, as an engineer, object to being tried by a jury that systematically excludes engineers and consists exclusively of people who are retired or on welfare.

Re:Because the jury selection process is corrupted (5, Interesting)

MrDoh1 (906953) | more than 6 years ago | (#20751321)

I was the foreman on a murder trial a few years ago.

After the trial, speaking with the defense and prosecutors, they both said they nearly excluded me, but both took a chance. They outright told me that they are afraid of people in technical, specifically IT related technical fields, serving on juries. They didn't really elaborate much but it was the general rule, not one just for this case.

I did convey to them that I believed that was wrong thinking on thier parts.

Re:Absurd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20750947)

From what I've seen in my jury duty experience the first thing the lawyers do is clean the jury of the the better informed regardless.

Re:Absurd (1)

aztektum (170569) | more than 6 years ago | (#20750975)

The only reason I did it was because my employer at the time wouldn't compensate me and the crappy state compensation would have made it hard to pay my bills come payday.

Re:Absurd (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 6 years ago | (#20750993)

No one would want to get out of jury duty if courts only tried pivotal, landmark cases. But the fact is, most trials are boring and very un-controversial as far as what the law states and how to interpret it.

Re:Absurd (1)

Reaperducer (871695) | more than 6 years ago | (#20751319)

No kidding. The only jury I ever got to be on was two lawyers suing each other over their share of a fee from a divorce case.

Re:Absurd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20751001)

well it would be considerd smart to get out of jury duity to save your job, alot of employers hold that over your head and LOOK for reasons to terminate you... its good for their company and in a corperate enviroment wjere Managers etc rule by fear of financial instability. its very effective. it takes a toll on all of us americans. We need to get away from Big Buisness, with Coperate CEO's and million dollar cross licencing agreements, and back to small town shops and local grocery stored, me personally, i boycott almost all large chains (with the exception of Krogres grocery store, as they are mostly american goods, and have half decient jobs for their employee's. Asfar as telco companies, why not split them up by area code, each area code is its own company, and is forbid from merging back into a ma'bell... The only one i cannot come up with a viable solution for is Gas Stations, as these corperations have a death grip on our society...

Re:Absurd (1)

KKlaus (1012919) | more than 6 years ago | (#20751197)

>>Why is "Getting out of jury duty" considered smart?

The old Tragedy of the Commons. While our behavior in aggregate may lead us to ruin, as individuals we still find it better to dodge jury duty because we accrue all the benefit, and (generally) so little of the detriment.

Here's a wikipedia link for those that want it: Tragedy of the Commons [wikipedia.org]

Re:Absurd (2, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 6 years ago | (#20751481)

Seriously though, why would ANYONE consider it smart to get out of jury duty when the decisions of the juries impacts case law like no other.

Ehh...not really. Juries decide questions of fact. Questions of law are decided by judges. A jury's decision rarely has any sort of precedential effect at all.

Re:Absurd (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 6 years ago | (#20751621)

Agreed! The two times I've gotten the initial jury letter I hoped I'd be selected, but alas all I got was a measly check for $4 or so. My father seems to have luck in sitting on a jury.

Re:Absurd (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#20750929)

Asterisk (or rather parent company digium [digium.com] ) is based in the US (if you consider Alabama part of the US :-), so they potentially could be sued to death. More likely, corporations using asterisk would be sued. Since it's open source, asterisk can be hosted in a country that has a saner patent system. (which might affect corporate usage, but it wouldn't stop me :)

Re:Absurd (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 6 years ago | (#20751145)

I'm sorry, how is what you did in any way similar to what Vonage does? Maybe I'm just not seeing it, but it sure as hell doesn't sound like you were doing anything even close to what they do.

Re:Absurd (2, Insightful)

truesaer (135079) | more than 6 years ago | (#20751183)

Do slashdotters just play dumb, or do 90% of the people that read this site not even know what a patent is? Just because you figured out how to do VOIP at some point doesn't mean that there is no way to patent some piece of technology that could be used to do it.


Vonage isn't in trouble for operating a VOIP service...tons of people do that, the cable company's phone offerings, skype, etc. I have no idea what patents they violated, but it would be a specific method or implementation...not the concept in general.


Dozens of other companies are doing VOIP and they're in the clear, so maybe Vonage just didn't bother to get the licenses necessary or use a different implementation.

Re:Absurd (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 6 years ago | (#20751407)

You haven't actually used Asterisk, have you?

It's not as easy to set up as it looks like on the box, even if you use trixbox.

What you're really banned from doing is making enough money from VoIP to draw the attention of a TelCo. You can do whatever you want as long as you aren't popular.

For example, did you hear about Ross Perot's murder rampage? I rest my case.

Interesting contradiction (2, Insightful)

Secrity (742221) | more than 6 years ago | (#20750685)

Interesting contradiction in a CNN article:

"We are disappointed that the jury did not recognize that our technology differs from that of Sprint's patents," chief legal officer Sharon O'Leary said in a statement. ...

"Vonage is working on a technology "workaround" to Sprint's patents similar to how it is addressing the Verizon patents."

Why would it be working on work-arounds for patents that it is not infringing?

Re:Interesting contradiction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20750759)

For the same reason one buys car insurance. Just because you're not an idiot and don't talk on your cellphone while driving, doesn't mean everyone else isn't doing just that.

Conversely, things which might indeed be non-infringing, but 'a jury of idiots might see it differently' might very well warrant the expense of R&D - to get something working that's clearly, absolutely, 100% not infringing, to even the dumbest moron.

Actually, I'm being far too unkind - after all, our own patent office can't even keep such things straight, so how can your standard requisite jury, who certainly aren't patent law experts?

Re:Interesting contradiction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20751189)

Dunno about you, but where I'm from, one buys car insurance because one has to, or one is not allowed to drive.

Re:Interesting contradiction (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 6 years ago | (#20750783)

Why would it be working on work-arounds for patents that it is not infringing?

Because if they lost (and they did) they would have to change how they did it, even if they still believe that they are not infringing on any patents. Have you ever heard the term, hedge your bets?

Re:Interesting contradiction (1)

cdrudge (68377) | more than 6 years ago | (#20750791)

Because a jury just ruled that they were. They felt they weren't, and they probably will appeal the ruling, but in the mean time (and just in case), it still makes sense to determine a non-infringing way of doing the same thing.

Re:Interesting contradiction (3, Insightful)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 6 years ago | (#20751259)

Why would it be working on work-arounds for patents that it is not infringing?
Because it doesn't matter what Vonage thinks, nor what we think, nor what Mrs. O'Leary's cow thinks, but what the most skillful lawyer in the courtroom can make the sub-90 IQ jurors think.

Hurray (4, Funny)

Scorchmon (305172) | more than 6 years ago | (#20750747)

Well, on the bright side, we won't be having to hear anymore of that damn "Woohoo" song from their commercials.

No, you will just hear a new song.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20751119)

(to the jingle, woo woo, woo woo woo)

woo woo we got sued!!

woo woo we got sued!

woo woo, woo woo,

woo woo we got sued!

goodbye!

i must be slow (0, Flamebait)

deftones_325 (1159693) | more than 6 years ago | (#20750821)

I seriously dont see the big deal with voip anyway. If theres someone that has an internet connection and you want to communicate with them.. you can do it free,(speaking in real time) there are tons of ways. Voip wont help me when i'm stranded in my yugo.

Re:i must be slow (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#20750977)

err, VOIP through a provider like vonage can let you call people on a standard service for pennies even if they are in a different country.

it's a huge deal, your just slow.

Re:i must be slow (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#20751015)

I has nothing to do with your yugo, its about cheaper landline service at home. I prefer landlands when at home, because cell phones cut out, there are sometimes connection problems where people can't hear my, battery life sucks, etc.

Re:i must be slow (1)

ahaning (108463) | more than 6 years ago | (#20751091)

If your television gets to you over the Internet, and your telephone gets to you over the Internet, and your Internet gets to you over the Internet, then there's only need for one connection into your house. This could be a single strand of fiber optic cable. Fewer holes to dig, less material to manufacture.

As you know, the Internet is transmitted using digital signals. These signals have a multitude of mediums they can use. Radio waves, electrical signals, light pulses, carrier pigeons, etc.

POTS travels almost exclusively over copper (at least up to and into your house). Copper is expensive.

POTS is also geographically oriented. This is nice, in the case of reliable 911 service, but sucks when it comes to long distance charges. The Internet is not geographically oriented, so the pros and cons are exactly the opposite. (Though I'm sure solutions will be found in both cases!)

In general, VoIP is awesome for the big company who has to worry about 100 strand fiber optic cables as opposed to 5000 pair copper cables, especially in the event of a cut. It will be rather 'meh' for the consumer who might see lower bills or more features, but will generally see minimal benefit.

For now, nothing beats a "2500 [lehigh.edu] " set and a pair of copper wires for basic voice transmission.

Patents working as the corporations want (3, Insightful)

Whuffo (1043790) | more than 6 years ago | (#20750863)

Here's another example of what's wrong in this country. Patents, which were intended to increase innovation and development have been bent into a weapon that corporations can use to destroy any new competition.

We've got patents being issued on obvious / unpatentable ideas and they're being upheld by courts that appear to be working for the big corporations - maybe the judges are clueless or overworked, but decisions like this one don't make the legal system look good.

Jointly, the current giant telecom companies hold patents on everything up to and including transmitting a voice over a wire. Any inventor that comes up with a better or cheaper way to provide voice telephony service will receive the same treatment that Vonage did.

Who do you think you are??? (4, Interesting)

gillbates (106458) | more than 6 years ago | (#20750885)

said the decision 'feels like a death knell' for Vonage because future revenue will likely dry up, preventing the company from investing in better technology or improving customer service."

Sharon, you must think we're a bunch of chumps. We didn't get to be big phone companies by being nice, you know. Better service and lower prices? Did you really think we'd let you get away with that little stunt?

Why do you think we pushed patents in the first place? Monopolies have always been about better profits, and never about better customer service or value. Quite charming that someone out there actually believes in such antiquated notions, really.

I believe, Sharon, you are just beginning to understand how a phone company is supposed to work. Better customer service? Hah! We're here to make a profit, and while your little charade was entertaining, it's high time you got on with being serious about being a phone company.

I mean, honestly, when was the last time one of your customers was on hold for more than a half hour before finally giving up? And you call yourselves a phone company...

Better technology? Are you serious? Why, that costs money, you know. Did you really believe our lawyers would let you get away with that?

After all, just who do you think we are?

uprecedented evile hit with newclear power again (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20750887)

the lights are coming up all over now.

this cannot go on much longer (give or take a few thousand years)?

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by already_gone (848753) on Friday July 08, @08:57AM (#13012644)
as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption.

fortunately there's an 'army' of angels, coming yOUR way

do not be afraid/dismayed, it is the way it was meant to be. the only way out is up.

the little ones/innocents must/will be protected.

after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit?

for each of the creators' innocents harmed, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available.

beware the illusionary smoke&mirrors.con

all is not lost/forgotten.

no need to fret (unless you're associated/joined at the hype with, unprecedented evile), it's all just a part of the creators' wwwildly popular, newclear powered, planet/population rescue initiative/mandate.

or, is it (literally) ground hog day, again? many of US are obviously not interested in how we appear (which is whoreabull) from the other side of the 'lens', or even from across the oceans.

vote with (what's left in) yOUR wallet. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi life0cidal glowbull warmongering execrable.

we still haven't read (here) about the 2/3'rds of you kids who are investigating/pursuing a spiritual/conscience/concious re-awakening, in amongst the 'stuff that matters'? another big surprise?

some of US should consider ourselves very fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate.

it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc....

as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis.

concern about the course of events that will occur should the corepirate nazi life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order.

'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

Re:uprecedented evile hit with newclear power agai (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20751495)

you have no chance to survive make your time

Non-Profit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20750919)

This may sound stupid, but...
What if someone were to start a non-profit voip provider? Would they still be subject to patent law? I mean, what if they aren't out to seek profits and exist to provide a service to the community? Pay for overhead costs with tax-deductable donations and charge a small monthly fee. Would this even work?

How times change... (5, Insightful)

ehinojosa (220524) | more than 6 years ago | (#20750921)

It's really kind of ironic. Verizon bought out MCI, which was one of the first long distance companies that was able to circumvent the AT&T regulated monopoly. Their microwave towers were disrupting the existing market forces in much the same way that Vonage and VoIP in general has the potential to be. Now a company that only managed to get its start by being basically "a law firm with an antenna on the roof" is essentially using their army of lawyers to keep down their potential competitors.

Funny how that works.

Which patents (1)

shannara256 (262093) | more than 6 years ago | (#20750927)

So, looking through google news about Vonage, none of the stories I found actually said which patents were ruled to have been infringed upon. Does anyone know what techniques and technologies Vonage used that Sprint and/or Verizon own patents on?

Which whipping boys? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20751013)

That's not how slashdot operates. Remember ALL patents are bad (unless they benefit us). It doesn't matter what the patents says because no one here even understands IP let alone patents. We do however understand that they're bad and if they're held by our enemies, then they're doubly bad (unless it's IBM...or Google...or well I'm sure another friend will pop up soon).

Re:Which patents (3, Informative)

greenbird (859670) | more than 6 years ago | (#20751123)

Does anyone know what techniques and technologies Vonage used that Sprint and/or Verizon own patents on?

A ZDNet analysis [zdnet.com] of the disputed Verizon patents 6,104,711 [uspto.gov] , 6,282,574 [uspto.gov] and 6,359,880 [uspto.gov] .

I haven't been able to find a list of the Sprint patents yet.

Re:Which patents (1)

NemoinSpace (1118137) | more than 6 years ago | (#20751405)

it's somewhere in here [uscourts.gov] pdf

Re:Which patents (3, Informative)

greenbird (859670) | more than 6 years ago | (#20751547)

From the parent post pdf:

Sprint filed this lawsuit in October of 2005, asserting infringement of sixty-one claims from seven representative patents from its patent portfolio. The patents in suit can be divided into essentially two groups: the '301 Family Patents and the '605 Family Patents. The '301 Family Patents include U.S. Patent Nos. 6,473,429 [uspto.gov] (the '429 Patent), U.S. Patent No. 6,665,294 [uspto.gov] (the '294 Patent), and U.S. Patent No. 6,298,064 [uspto.gov] (the '064 Patent). These three patents are collectively referred to as the '301 Family Patents because they all share an identical written description and drawings with U.S. Patent No. 5,991,301 [uspto.gov] and were filed as continuation applications of the '301 Patent. For priority purposes they all claim the filing date of the '301 Patent, which is September 8, 1995. Each of these patents is entitled "Broadband Telecommunications System," and generally discloses an invention which is "a system for providing virtual connections through an ATM interworking multiplexer on a call- by-call basis." '429 Patent, Abstract.

The '605 Family Patents include U.S. Patent No. 6,452,932 [uspto.gov] (the '932 Patent), U.S. Patent No. 6,304,572 [uspto.gov] (the '572 Patent), U.S. Patent No. 6,463,052 [uspto.gov] (the '052 Patent), and U.S. Patent No. 6,633,561 [uspto.gov] (the '561 Patent). These four patents are collectively referred to as the '605 Family Patents because they all share an identical written description and drawings with U.S. Patent Application No. 08/238,605 (the '605 Application, now abandoned) and were filed as continuation applications to the '605 Application. For priority purposes they all claim the filing date of the '605 Application, which is May 5, 1994. Each of these patents is entitled "Method, System and Apparatus for Telecommunications Control," and generally discloses an invention that "includes a method, system, and apparatus for providing communication control." '932 Patent, Abstract.

Re:Which patents (1)

greenbird (859670) | more than 6 years ago | (#20751365)

Does anyone know what techniques and technologies Vonage used that Sprint and/or Verizon own patents on?

Here's an ars technica analysis [arstechnica.com] of the three disputed Verizon patents.

This blog [blogspot.com] references 2 Sprint patents 6,373,930 [uspto.gov] and 6,731,735 [uspto.gov] but I can't seem to find any references listing the patents in the Sprint lawsuit.

Vonage can handle this quite easily (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 6 years ago | (#20750939)

Just hit customers with a US$1.00 increment in service charges. Problem solved. Period.

Re:Vonage can handle this quite easily (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20751073)

well I'd be pissed about that because I only pay 4.99$/mo plus those other shady charges usually comes to a total of 8$ and some change a mo. So, yeah don't tack on a dollar to my service do it to the folks who are actually paying 25$+ a month. Besides Vonage doesn't have the customer base that Verizon/AT$T/Nextel/etc do.

EXCELLENT! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20751005)

From personal experience dealing with Vonage they are a horrible company. They deserve every bit of what is coming to them. There demise cannot come quick enough.

Simply another step towards the next bell monoply (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20751021)

This is inherent in the free market capitalism. That is why the Libertarian/Republican Dog-Eat-Dog/Survival-of-the-fittest fucktards want to eliminate all regulations towards monopolies and allow monopolies again. This is why we need to eliminate capitalism once and for all.

COMMUNISM FTW!
FUCK CAPITALISM! DESTROY CAPITALISM!

Good thing we have Patents and Copyrights (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 6 years ago | (#20751023)

Otherwise, innovation might be stifled.

Sad day for Americans (2, Insightful)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 6 years ago | (#20751041)

It is increasingly starting to look like the US system will grind to a halt. The real question is what it will take for competition from abroad to force a reform. My guess is that sooner or latter the US economy will take such a hit that the rest of the world will no longer be dependant upon it. When that happens Black Tuesday will look like statistical noise in comparison.

Sad day for History Teachers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20751257)

"It is increasingly starting to look like the US system will grind to a halt. "

Translation: Other countries?

"The real question is what it will take for competition from abroad to force a reform. "

Translation: I think my country can beat up your country.

"My guess is that sooner or latter the US economy will take such a hit that the rest of the world will no longer be dependant upon it."

Thankfully we don't sell spell checkers. Anyway our "doom" will come from the housing "thud" and credit "crunch" as well as the "snap/crackle/ and pop" of the environment. As for the last. You're ignorant, and before some zealous mod mods me down. I suggest you go over to the commerce dept. web site and look. We're so intertwined with the rest of the world it's not funny.

"When that happens Black Tuesday will look like statistical noise in comparison."

History may not be your strong point but I suggest you research the depression. [wikipedia.org] The effects weren't just confined to the US. And in todays world a repeat would be much worse.

Re:Sad day for Americans (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 6 years ago | (#20751557)

"The US System" - what the heck does that mean? The entire socio-economic engine behind American culture will sputter and die, simply because of a single patent law suit? You overestimate its impact, and your insight.

Can't stand Vonage (0, Troll)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 6 years ago | (#20751099)

As much as I like VOIP Vonage is pretty sleazy to deal with. I kept having service interruptions so I finally cancelled my service. It took 20 minutes of threats of lawsuits before they would even agree to cancel the service. Over all it took 45 minutes of fighting and they were still trying to talk me out of it right up until I hung up on them. There are other and better services so it couldn't happen to a sleazier company as far as I'm concerned.

Kurt Vonaget Is The Shit (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20751163)

FLiRSt POsT MinUS ThE 'L', You VOnAGeT LEgHuMPiNG JUmPInG BeAnS From chINA.

MOD +5 PLZ.

It'S my BirtHDAY And My Cat Died In My Arms ToN1GHt. (It CouLD'VE BEEN SOMETHING HE MEOWED.)

GG.

For the lawyers and media (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20751269)

http://www.apa.org/journals/features/psp7761121.pdf [apa.org]

I have been using Vonage for several years (About a week after it was available in my area).

It has it's issues. Usually my problem is my ISP (NOT VONAGE). Sure telco is responsible from end-to-end. Sure Telco costs more for that "infrastructure". It is not fair that I was paying $100 for the same copper that was installed and paid for itself many times over all ready. But - honestly, Vonage is the only reason I still have a home phone.

My wife and I each have cell's. Why a home phone? No idea - but for $25 -vs- $100 why not keep one???

Patents Working as Legal System Intends (3, Funny)

YetAnotherBob (988800) | more than 6 years ago | (#20751289)

I see from the article that the patent system is working as intended.

Patents really exist to slow the pace of innovation down to the point where the legal system can deal with it. They are also intended to protect the large economic organizations from threats by smaller corporations that may not be able or care to carry the loads for the system that the larger entities do. (However inefficiently.)

That patents promote innovation is a propaganda line that has never been true. Patents were created as a mechanism to prevent the rapid spread of a technology that threatened a royal monopoly in the late 1600s. They have always been no more than a way to slow down or stop change in the economy.

Preventing other people from using new ideas is all patents allow anyway. To really use a patent, you have to have a large amount of money to spend on lawyers. The results are usually chaotic, with the normal result being that the side with the most money wins. Often by bankrupting the other side with legal bills. Private patent holders are even told this in court, with the judge agreeing. There are exceptions, mostly when the patent owner is a law firm (Patent Troll). Even then the systems works, as the Trolls increase the cost of doing anything in a new way to the point where only truly outstanding ideas are ever doable.

The problem here is that this crowd (Slashdotters generally) doesn't understand the real reasons for the system. They are falling for the propaganda reasons, which are obviously not working. If you understand the real reasons, the system is working just fine. Those very public reasons of 'promoting innovation' are only out there to dupe the masses, and allow for the usual corruption at the top to continue.

Next thing I know, you will be claiming that drug patents reduce the cost of drugs. I guess P.T. was right, there really is one born every minute.

Informed opinion or gut reaction? (2, Interesting)

impactor (1162157) | more than 6 years ago | (#20751447)

Let me start by saying i know very little about the specifics of this case. I also believe that there is a time and place for some sort of patent system (whether the current system is flawed, I don't know). Alot of the posts have critized the patents for stiffling progress. I'm wondering if these responses have been gut reactions reactions, or if these posters know something i do not. Does anyone know which patents are in question? Of those people who do, does anyone have the technical and legal expertise to distinguish a valid patent from one which should never have been granted? Does Sprint have a valid case for any of the patents in question? I'm not posting to defend sprint. I'm just curious what has tipped so many peoples opinion in favor of Vonage. What is it that you know that I don't?

Non-local numbers (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 6 years ago | (#20751535)

I like Vonage because their service lets me use a non-local number. In this case, I live on one side of the country, while my gf is on the outer. Since I've been scoping jobs in her area, it's nice to have a number that's local to that area for interested employers to call.
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