Here come the patent police
Here's the real harvest of Verizon's patent victory over Vonage: all the other patent lawyers are coming out of hiding. In the last couple of days, Agere has sued Microsoft and VoIP Inc. has sent out threatening letters to a bunch of people. Agere says that Microsoft took some meetings in 2002 and 2003 to explore the possibility of buying the company. Instead, Agere claims, Microsoft broke off talks and announced its own breakthrough; Agere says those advances were based on information it disclosed during negotiations. (Microsoft declined comment.) For its part, VoIP Inc. says it sent some unstated number of companies regarding a patent that the company says covers making a call-back phone call from an intermediate point. That's a good description of click-to-call, but judge for yourself: it's patent 6,501,837.