Before you read this, I want to toss in a disclaimer that this is only my opinion, not the opinion of Vonage or anyone affiliated, blah blah blah…

Most of you know that I work for Vonage as a web developer. With the amount of attention that Vonage has gotten in the news lately, I thought I would take a moment to clarify a few things. Most of the mainstream media outlets have already pronounced us as dead and moved on. The problem is they don’t really understand the intricacies of patent litigation, and they are too lazy to keep track of what was going on. The Vonage website has a page devoted to explaining how the lawsuits will impact existing customers.

Here is the real deal.

Verizon accused Vonage of being in violation of three separate patents. When we went to court, the judge had little to no understanding of VoIP technology or the services Vonage provides. He was an ordinary judge, chosen at random in a location that would guarantee the case would go to trial in months where it normally takes years. There are reports that the judge actually *slept* through part of the trial. The entire trial took a few hours where most patent cases take days, weeks or even months. The judge decided in favor of Verizon with 100% of the claims, something that I am told has never happened before.

Verizon was seeking damages around $300 million and royalties of our subscriptions at about 25% going forward. The jury (yes, the patent case had a jury) came back and awarded $58 million and 5% of royalties based on the judges “findings”. It is also worth mentioning that the judge did not understand patent litigation to the point that he did not know that when patent cases are appealed they are heard at the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. When this was made clear to him, he retracted his judgment and took two weeks to review the case.

After the two weeks he came back and imposed the injunction that freaked everyone out; Vonage would not be allowed to sign up new customers. What everyone failed to note was that Vonage did an emergency appeal and they granted a temporary stay on the injunction (meaning we dont have to comply with it until a later date). On the 24th the federal court will decide if we get an extended stay, and if so for how long. Even after all that, Vonage is developing work-arounds so that there will be no interruption in the process of acquiring new customers.

Verizon doesn’t really care about patent infringement, they see us as a threat and they are trying to shut us down. There goal was to cost us enough money to permanently damage us, and so far they are failing miserably. Even if Vonage ends up paying the 5% and the $58M to Verizon, it will only slow down our progress temporarily.

The last thing I want to comment on is the layoff Vonage had yesterday. Obviously I still have a job, as does everyone else who works for Vonage who is in my personal inner circle. The layoff wasn’t a desperate act of cost cutting, but a strategic move to eliminate those that A) didn’t really want to be here, or B) weren’t contributing adequately. Most of the people that were laid off weren’t really surprised.

On that note, Vonage isn’t going anywhere. My job and the jobs of my friends here are not in jeopardy. Vonage will continue to grow in thrive in spite of Verizons efforts to squish us under a pile of money. Vonage is still the most innovative VoIP option in the marketplace. Lastly, ignore what the media has to say about Vonage, I find most of it uninformed or otherwise tainted.