Jury: Cox Did Not Infringe Verizon Patents


Cox Communications did not infringe six of Verizon Communications’ patents related to providing Internet phone service, a federal jury decided on Monday.

A jury in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia ruled in Cox’s favor in the patent-infringement case, which Verizon filed against the MSO in January.

“Cox is extremely pleased with the decision,” the cable provider said in a statement. “With more than 3 million residential and business telephone customers, Cox has been a leader in delivering competitive choice for phone service. We remain deeply committed to providing our customers high-quality phone service at a great value, and look forward to competing vigorously with Verizon in the marketplace, not the courtroom.”

Verizon spokesman David Fish said in a statement, “Verizon is a major-league innovator in new technology for our customers, and we will continue to innovate and to protect our patented inventions.”

Verizon had sought $404 in million damages. However, the larger significance of a verdict in Verizon's favor would have been "the negotiating leverage it would have provided Verizon with other cable companies," investment bank Stifel Nicolaus said in a research note.

The Virginia district court jury further found that Cox had provided “clear and convincing evidence” that Verizon’s claims on two patents were invalid. Those were U.S. Patent No. 6,104,711, for an “Enhanced Internet domain name server” to translate information from a public, packet-based network; and U.S. Patent No. 6,282,574, “Method, server and telecommunications system for name translation on a conditional basis and/or to a telephone number,” an extension of the earlier patent.

Last year, a separate jury in Virginia found that voice-over-IP provider Vonage Holdings had infringed Verizon’s ’574 and ’711 patents. Vonage ended up paying the telco $117.5 million as part of a settlement agreement.

A similar suit filed by Verizon is pending against Charter Communications, in the Eastern District Court of Texas, alleging the MSO infringes the same eight patents. Charter has previously said it would "vigorously defend itself."

Verizon’s suit against Cox, filed Jan. 11, originally alleged the cable operator infringed eight patents related to delivering phone service over data communications networks. The companies agreed to have two of those claims dismissed prior to the jury trial.