My Vonage Line Is Safe For Now (Bummer)

To recap… Verizon went after Vonage, claiming patent infringement. The jury agreed that Vonage infringed on three of Verizon’s patents, ordering $56 million in repayment plus future royalties. The court seemed to move towards a total injunction, but yesterday GigaOm reported on Verizon’s propsal:

Judge Claude Hilton has issued an injunction that bars Vonage from signing up new customers. “It’s the difference of cutting off oxygen as opposed to the bullet in the head,” Vonage lawyer Roger Warin told the Associated Press. Still the 2.2 million Vonage customers can breathe a sigh of relief – their phone service is not going to be turned off this weekend.

Which was quickly followed by a stay:

Vonage has been granted a temporary stay from U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, DC, the company said. The company is now able to continue signing up new customers.

As a Vonage customer, I’ve been following this story. I find their service adequate and their customer service poor. I’ll have no problem (and will shed no tears) finding another provider, or going without, should they get shut down.

7 thoughts on “My Vonage Line Is Safe For Now (Bummer)”

  1. Yeah, I’m waiting to see how this pans out. I actually like Vonage and I really like the cost. I’m not psyched about having to look for a new vendor.

  2. Can someone explain in simple terms what Vonage has been infringing on, and if other voip providers also infringe? (Comcast digital voice? ATT CallVantage?)

    I’ve been a vonage customer for several years now, at nearly the lowest rate plan.

    I like the features of vonage, especially the voice mail features.

    If vonage goes away, the thing I’m most attached to is my phone number. I have had it longer than my cell phone number, and it’s got a somewhat unique pattern. My issue will be if I transfer to the number to another voip provider or if I transfer it to a cell phone as a virtual number.

  3. It looks like Vonage will survive and their stock is unreasonably low. I just bought 3000 shares of Vonage at $3.20 per share – it seemed to be at rock bottom after the court loss and initial IPO was $17.00 per share. It is now $3.68 a share with news of work around on two patents – $1440 gain in 7 days is not bad!

    Almost all VOIP providers would fall under the same generalized patents that Verizon has and should be illegal. Should you be able to patent peanut butter because you were the first to get the patent through when is was already in use? This is what Verizon did for VOIP to the detriment of all who want to make their own PB&J sandwiches.

  4. My recient coorespondence with Vonage:

    Case # 11289786
    I called many time today (4-7-07) concerning an invoice dated this date, and charged to my account the same day (apparently before I was even sent the charge) The charge is 118.74 for a Starcom telepone, that I never ordered, and never received. Invoice # 44806470. I had, in February of last year (2006) oredered a new account with a starcom wi fi telephone. I had it for a year, but was never able to make it work properly. I couildn’t log into wi fi systems that required a log in. (this defect was apparently noted on sever blogs, which I wish I had read before ordering the service).
    I called last month (March) to cancel the service. I was serviced by a very understanding reprehensive of Vonage, who persuaded my not to cancel, but to try a v phone instead. I asked about a credit for my Starcom phone, since it was useless to me, and he said I could receive a credit, by mailing it back to Vonage. He gave me mailing instructions, and a return code, which was followed up by an email with the same information. I mailed the starcom back the next day. He also said he would give me credits for the past inability to use the service. I never got credit for the phone I sent back, and am now being charged for an additional starcom that I never ordered, would not want in any event, and never received.
    I spent all afternoon with vonage representatives on 4-7-2007, and had to ask for a supervisor 3 times. Although I had a case number (112897) each representative gave me different answers, and two supervisors put me on hold, and disconnected me after long waits.
    I do not intend to forget about this, and asked that the last supervisor note on the case file that I will contact the credit card company asking the charge be denied, and that I intended to contact the attorneys for Verizon, and the federal judge handling the Verizon case against Vonage, and that I will try to contact every regulatory agency I can find with an interest to make this matter known. I consider you’re charging me before billing me for an item I neither ordered or received, fraud. I again demand that charge be reversed, and in addition that a credit be issued for the starcom phone I returned, and in addition, a credit for the service between Feb of 2006 and March of 2007 which would not work.

  5. I’ve had both attitude and billing problems with Vonage as well. The only reason we’re still customers (since fall ’05) is because I’ve been too lazy to mess with something else – especially at this price. (We’re on the $14.99/mo plan for 500 US & Canada minutes.)

  6. I use callvantage and have been very happy with their customer service. Saving $5 was not important to me after I read the reviews of VOIP services two years ago.

    This patent business is interesting though; what patent could Verizon have that AT&T (before SBC bought and took the name) does not?

  7. What I’ve learned from the TiVo/EchoStar tiff is that I don’t really know anything at all about patent law. And that these things can drag on for years.

    A few folks with my former company were very happy with Sun Rocket — $200/yr for unlimited calling. Though if I’m forced to switch, I’ll probably just use Skype in the house along with my cell phone(s).

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