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Vonage hopes recent Supreme Court decision can save it

Ruling that could make it easier to challenge patents could help save the day for the struggling VoIP provider.

Vonage may finally be catching a lucky break. A Supreme Court decision handed down on Monday may help save Vonage in its patent infringement appeal against Verizon.

On Tuesday, Vonage asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C., to send the patent infringement case back to the lower court to be retried based on the Supreme Court's decision in the KSR International v. Teleflex case.

The court's decision, handed down on Monday, implied that the patent system has tilted too far toward protecting patents that in many cases were filed for technologies that were obvious and not worthy of being patented. In this case, KSR International was defending itself in a patent infringement suit brought by Teleflex, which owns a patent that combines sensor technology that adjusts the height of vehicle control pedals to suit drivers of different sizes.

Vonage, which is appealing a patent infringement suit that Verizon won in March, is using this Supreme Court ruling to argue that Verizon's patents for mapping IP addresses to phone numbers are invalid because they combine well-known concepts of Internet telephony.

"We are very encouraged by the Supreme Court's decision and the giant step it represents towards achieving much-needed patent reform in this country," Jeffrey Citron, Vonage chairman and interim chief executive officer, said in a statement. "The Supreme Court's decision should have positive implications for Vonage and our pending patent litigation with Verizon. We are also hopeful that this case will protect legitimate innovators and the value of their inventions, unlock the innovation process, and provide that companies are better able to conduct business without the encumbrance of meritless patent claims."