Vonage wants review of Verizon patent appeal

After emerging on losing end of ongoing dispute, the struggling Internet phone company asks federal appeals court to rehear the case.

Vonage has asked a federal appeals court to revisit its recent decision to uphold most of a patent infringement ruling in a case it lost to Verizon Communications.

The Internet phone company characterized the request for a rehearing as the "next logical step" in the litigation process and in "moving our business forward."

The struggling firm also continues to "explore all legal options available to put the Verizon litigation to rest," Chief Legal Officer Sharon O'Leary said in a statement Wednesday.

Could that mean another out-of-court settlement is on the horizon? Earlier this week, Vonage settled a patent dispute with Sprint Nextel to the tune of $80 million. That development arrived just weeks after a federal jury ordered Vonage to pay $69.5 million for infringing six voice-over Internet protocol patents.

In late September, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld a jury's finding earlier this year that Vonage had infringed on two Verizon patents, which are seemingly critical to the way the Net phone company's service works. (Vonage has maintained it has a workaround that doesn't infringe, but some analysts say Verizon may challenge those supposed fixes as well.)

The appeals court opted to send the infringement decision on the remaining patent at issue, which is considered less significant to Vonage's offerings, back to a lower court for a new trial. The court also threw out a $58 million judgment against Vonage because the jury didn't specify how the damages would be divvied up among the three patents at issue.

Update at 2:33 p.m. PDT: , an analyst with Stifel Nicolaus and constitutional law professor at Johns Hopkins University, said requests for appeals court rehearings are "routinely sought" but "seldom granted."

 

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