nav search
Data Center Software Security Transformation DevOps Business Personal Tech Science Emergent Tech Bootnotes BOFH

Sprint sprints off with $140m from Time Warner after VoIP patent battle

Cable giant nine-figures lighter after ripping off voice-call tech

By Shaun Nichols, 6 Mar 2017

Sprint has been awarded $139.8m in damages after a jury found that Time Warner Cable infringed on five of its patents related to voice-over-IP calling systems.

The jury in Sprint's home town of Kansas City found that TWC, now part of Charter, violated the five patents on technology related to the operation of TWC's VoIP calling services for home and business customers.

The suit [PDF], first filed in 2011 and amended multiple times since, alleges that TWC owes it outstanding royalty charges dating back to 2010.

The patents are:

  • US Patent 6,343,084, a broadband calling system. Says Sprint: "The invention is a system for providing virtual connections through an ATM interworking multiplexer on a call-by-call basis."
  • US Patent 6,633,561, described as a method for telecommunications control. "The present invention includes a method, system, and apparatus for providing communication control. The invention includes a method in which signaling is processed externally to a switch before it is applied by the network elements."
  • US Patent 6,463,052, another patent described as a method, system and apparatus for telecommunications control. "The invention includes a method in which signaling is processed externally to a switch before it is applied by the network elements. The processor is able to select network characteristics and signal the network elements based on the selections. A network employing the processing method is also included, as well as a signaling system that employs the processing method."
  • US Patent 6,473,429, titled "broadband telecommunications system" and described to the USPTO as "a system for providing virtual connections through an ATM interworking multiplexer on a call-by-call basis."
  • US Patent 6,298,064, yet another broadband telecommunications system patent: "A signaling processor receives signaling for a call and selects the virtual connection for the call. The signaling processor generates new signaling that identifies the selection and transfers the new signaling to the ATM interworking multiplexer that accepted the access connection for the call."

On Friday, the jury decided [PDF] that TWC indeed infringed on the five patents, with damages adding up to $139.8m.

TWC parent company Charter said, via a spokesperson, that it has not yet ruled out an appeal of the verdict. "We are disappointed with the outcome and are considering our options," Charter's statement read. "We have no further comment at this time." ®

The Register - Independent news and views for the tech community. Part of Situation Publishing