Is there such a thing as a “workaround” that actually, well, works? It strikes me that whenever a company gets in trouble for infringing on someone else’s IP, the company doing the infringing says “No worries, we’ve got a workaround somewhere around here that we had put aside for a rainy day”. Vonage, for example, claimed it had a workaround after a U.S. judge ruled it had infringed on technology owned by Verizon, while Research in Motion talked about a workaround during the latter stage of its legal woes with NPT Inc.
We never found out whether or not RIM did have a workaround because it ended up forking over more than six hundred extra-large ones (aka millions) to make NTP go away. Now, Vonage has admitted it doesn’t have a workaround after suggesting last week it had a workaround in development . Even worse, Vonage isn’t sure that a workaround is “feasible” given the extent of Verizon’s patents. This is bad news because it means Vonage will likely be unable to sign up new customers unless it reaches a patent deal with Verizon. Maybe Vonage’s new CEO, Jeff Citron (who used to be the old CEO), will be able to strike a deal with Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg.
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