Legal / Patent issues


#1

Just wondering if there are any implications for Asterisk* considering the recent flurry of laws suites filed by RTI inc against companies using VoIP technology. Most recently Google is apparently being sued for $5 billion because of its GoogleTalk service and it appears that Vonage and Ebay(Skype) are also on the line of fire?
blog.searchenginewatch.com/blog/051227-143014

RTI apparently holds patents covering a broad rage of applications including gateways, IP Phones, IP PBX’s, edge routers, core routers, PC computers, ITSPs, and VoIP products.

Personally, I’m not familiar enough with the two patents to determine if Asterisk* falls within their sphere. Also, from a laymans point of view, my guess would be that since Asterisk* is open source, it wouldn’t be affected, but what about companies that use Asterisk* for commercial purposes? I’m hoping that someone knowlegeable about the legalities will tell me that Asterisk* is not affected.


#2

Good question, and probably only answerable based on the result of a lawsuit, if one should arise.


#3

what scary is that up to 800 companies have paid for a CNS deal with this guy to protect them from being sued. i guess he’s persuasive !

i hate patent law, particularly the stuff i’ve either seen (like this) or have been on the end of. someone even threatened me with action over a piece of code i wrote and released a year before their product was on the market. i’ll not post my response here, kids might be reading !!

US patent law really sucks … imo :smiley:


#4

Yes, it is disturbing when a “patent troll” simply registers an idea and waits for someone to develop his idea so he can sue later for infringement.

It’s happened before, and it’ll happen again.

However, having read their patent, I would have to say that Asterisk doesn’t apply in ALL cases. The patent is for a switching device and specifies providing “current” between endpoints as well as least cost routing.

So, the patent may apply if analog FXO or FXS boards are employed, but not in a pure VOIP implementation. But maybe only when least cost routing is employed in the system.

I’m not a lawyer, but I would guess that in a pure VOIP implementation it really doesn’t apply.

Here’s the patent if anyone cares to read it:

patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Pars … PN/5425085