Verizon Communications' attempt to make use of its VoIP patents against competing providers ran into a stone wall Monday in the form of a federal jury that found Cox Communications didn't infringe Verizon patents.
Verizon, which was seeking $404 million in damages against Cox, filed the infringement case against Cox early this year after winning a patent infringement case against VoIP provider Vonage Holdings. Verizon's original filing against Cox cited patents it had exerted against Vonage, but it isn't clear from media reports whether the Verizon-Vonage patents figured in the final Verizon-Cox decision.
Cox hailed the decision and said it looks forward "to competing vigorously with Verizon in the marketplace, not in the courtroom." Among other arguments, cable provider Cox had said its cable calling service isn't routed over the public Internet.
In the aftermath of the decision, Verizon said it hadn't decided whether it would appeal the decision. Verizon isn't a major provider of VoIP services, although its Verizon Voice Wing VoIP FiOS service utilizes the IP technology.
"Despite the decision, we believe our patents were infringed," Verizon said in a statement. "We will continue to innovate and protect our intellectual property."
The jury in the Federal District of Virginia found that Cox didn't infringe the six Verizon patents. The case was closely watched by other cable providers and by companies in the growing VoIP marketplace that feared a Verizon victory could lead to litigation against other telecommunications providers over VoIP services.
Verizon recently reached a deal with Comcast in which both companies agreed not to sue each other over patent issues for five years. Earlier this year, Verizon had sued Charter Communications for VoIP patent infringement, and that case is still pending.