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June 4, 2006

Net2Phone Dials Skype

6,108,704 has some broad claims for point-to-point network communication. Its owner, Net2Phone, is embarking on an enforcement campaign that promises to be center ring of this season's patent press circus, now that the NTP v. RIM match has folded its tent. First shot, Net2Phone dials eBay-owned Skype in a NJ court filing.

The reportage is particularly colorful down under.  As if a legal lynchmob, VoIP News in Australia toots: "More Lawyers Go After Skype." Like it's some kind of bird-flu pandemic, Stan Beer at iTWire is at bedside with "Skype latest victim of patent suit."

Folksy Skype's current slogan is "the whole world can talk for free." Happy thought indeed; let's see how long they keep that up.

Skype wisely declined comment on the suit, which seeks unspecified damages and an injunction. If Skype doesn't make a peep within coming weeks, figure '704 has legs, and settlement talks are ongoing.

Net2Phone is owned by IDT Corporation, a communications service provider.

The reason that press coverage may be more muted than the RIM fracas is because Net2Phone is a competitor, not just a patent holding company like NTP. Without the mental image of dreaded patent trolls, it's harder to work up sufficient froth in mouth.

Posted by Patent Hawk at June 4, 2006 4:59 PM | Litigation


I correctly predicted in Wikipedia's article about Skype some time ago that Skype was going to be sued for IP violation.
And here we go...

This is first, but not the last time they are sued for patent infringement.
They obfuscate and encrypt their code for a good reason.
No wonder Skype's CEO Niklas Zennstrom is such a vocal opponent of patents...

Posted by: small guy at June 5, 2006 6:51 AM