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Thursday, December 03, 2009

Verizon Issued Patent For Google Voice

Verizon has managed to obtain a patent which provides "one number" to access multiple calling services. Nevermind that this is what OneBox.com has offered for 10 years or so, and what hundreds of other companies offer to various degrees. The timing of the patent "August, 2009" coincides too neatly with the attack, by AT&T on Google Voice.

Conspiracy? Hardly. Verizon is deliberately putting some cards into play to make it more expensive for competitors. I thought Verizon would keep itself above the fray. Droid is going to be a big hit. Why bother with frivolous patents? What reviewer approved this and why is he still being paid?

Now it seems like a two pronged assault. Verizon's patent is strikingly similar to Amazon's "One Click" - a service possibly worthy of a trademark. It is a broadly worded document that covers the "idea" of combining multiple telephone services. Specifically it mentions "generating textual information based on the received voicemail message"... a service provided by PhoneTag and Simulscribe for many years.

In other words, the patent should not have qualified... at all, because everything in the document was already publicly available at the time of the patent. It's all open source too... ala Asterisk and Freeswitch. It flouts the purpose of patent law... to protect inventors, and rather seeks to punish true, prior, inventors with corporate fueled legalese.

This is another sign of weakness and fear in the big telcos. The fear is of internet calling and the weakness is that the only person that can protect them is the government. If they had any ability, they would use it to out-feature, out-price and/or acquire these upstarts.

Is there something we don't know about? AT&T is doing very well with iPhone subscriptions, right? Why are they begging the FCC to regulate Google? Verizon boasts the hottest mobile network... and at the same time is filing for junk patents like a litigious California tech startup?

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