Saturday, April 14, 2007

Verizon Gets to Patent the Internet?

This is a scary development I must say. Apparently a district court has upheld Verizon's actual claim to the Internet. Apparently it's only (for now) voice communications but still a bad development. From TPMCafe and Kos here's the story:

We know this as a result of that court case in which Verizon is trying to sue competitor Vonage out of business. Vonage offers telephone service over Internet connections, and so takes customers away from Verizon. In tried-and-true form, Verizon filed suit and a silly District Court ruling (currently being appealed) awarded Verizon $58 million plus a piece of Vonage's revenues.

But the interesting part comes as part of the decision. Here are three claims upheld by the U.S. District Court, as quoted from the decision that could cost Vonage big time:

1. A method as in claim 1, wherein the public packet data communication network is a packet switched network.

2. A method as in claim 6, wherein the packet switched network comprises a system of interlinked data networks using TCP/IP protocol.

3. A method as in claim 7, wherein the system of interlinked data networks comprises the Internet.
Look closely at what those supposedly valid claims describe. A public packet data communications network? A network using TCP/IP? Interlinked data networks? Verizon has patented the Internet.

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