Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Baltic (and other) Skypies can breath easy

Skype users in Latvia (where there are said to be very many) and the other Baltic countries can breath easy, because Skype doesn't see any intellectual property issues with its voice over IP (VOIP) technology. Skype spokesman Villu Arak (at Skype's Tallinn, Estonia skunkworks)said this in a very brief statement when asked about the implications of Verizon's legal actions against Vonage. He declined to comment on the specific case.
The Verizon- Vonage dispute has centered on a set of VOIP patents that allow internet connected users to call ordinary phone numbers. Some analysts have said that applied as broadly as in the court decision affecting Vonage, the patents claimed by Verizon could be violated by almost all VOIP services.
The decision by a US court to defer an injunction preventing Vonage from signing on new customers has probably saved Vonage from a quick demise, although the company has other issues (large churn).
With Skype apparently safe and a good chance that the lower court decision on the scope of the patents will be narrowed, the only people with anything to worry about are Balts living abroad who might have taken a Vonage number from Cleveland or New York while spending the summer at a second residence in Riga, Tallinn or Vilnius.

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