Sprint to buy Vonage?

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That’s the rumor.

(Sprint-Nextel is also suing Vonage over patent infringement and a buyout is one possible way to settle.)

IDC analyst Will Stofega told Business Week that it would make more sense for T-Mobile to buy Vonage.

About those Verizon patents that have pushed Vonage to the brink, some telecom analysts are questioning their validity:

Two of the three Verizon patents a jury upheld in a March decision were described in a standards group called the VOIP Forum before Verizon filed for the patents, said Daniel Berninger, who had a hand in launching Vonage but now works as a telecom analyst for Tier1Research.com. The VOIP Forum described the name translation call-processing step in an open standard developed in 1996, and Verizon applied for the two patents in March 1997 and February 2000, he said in an interview about the case.

Verizon's patents focus on using name translation to connect VOIP calls to traditional telephone networks. But without name translation, no VOIP calls could be completed, and all Verizon VOIP competitors are in danger of getting sued, Berninger said. "If you translate these patents so ridiculously broadly, then there's nothing left," he said. "Everybody infringes."

Berninger is, as far as I can tell, the only analyst that’s come forward an openly questioned the validity of Verizon’s patents.


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