On Tuesday, law firms representing Bear Creek Technologies filed a lawsuit in the Eastern District of Virginia against 23 defendants, and it alleged infringement on a VoIP patent.
RCN, Verizon Communications, Vonage, AT&T, Time Warner Cable, Comcast, T-Mobile USA, Charter Communications, Cox Communications, Qwest Communications and CenturyLink were among the defendants that allegedly infringed on United States Patent No. 7,889,722, titled “System for Interconnecting Standard Telephony Equipment to Internet Protocol Networks.” The press release said that the patent was issued on Feb. 15 of this year.
The complaint, which was filed in the Eastern District of Virginia, seeks both injunctive relief and unspecified damages.
The complaint describes the patent, which was filed in 1996 and is owned by Bear Creek Technologies, as “a visionary paradigm shift from the infrastructure then used by the telecommunications industry.”
“As the Internet rose in prominence in the early to mid 1990s, technologies developed to allow consumers to use computers to place long-distance telephone calls over the Internet rather than the public switched telephone network (PSTN) and avoid long-distance charges,” according to a press release by Miele Law Group PC and Cooley Manion Jones LLP, who filed the complaint on behalf of Bear Creek. “As telecommunications companies began to appreciate the economic impact of this development, tensions developed between providers of standard telephone switching technologies and proponents of what was soon to be called Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technologies.
“Rather than viewing VoIP technology as an alternative to standard telephony equipment and infrastructure, Joe Thompson, founder of Bear Creek Technologies, envisioned a paradigm in which VoIP would cooperate with existing standard telephony equipment and with the switching and trunking infrastructure already in place. Joe Thompson applied for a patent in early 1996 to memorialize these novel ideas during a time when telephone companies were spending millions of dollars each year managing and deploying telephone trunking and PSTN infrastructure. The patent is owned by Bear Creek Technologies, which has brought this lawsuit to protect its intellectual property rights.”
A spokesman for Cox said the company doesn’t comment on pending litigation, while Comcast and Time Warne Cable didn’t respond by deadline this morning.