San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has won reexamination of an illegitimate patent on voice-over-Internet protocol (VoIP) that could cripple the adoption of new VoIP technologies.
A company named Acceris Communications Technologies, now C2 Communications Technologies, was awarded the bogus patent for hardware, software, and processes for implementing VoIP using analog telephones as endpoints -- covering many telephone calls made over the Internet. EFF and the law firm Fenwick & West LLP filed a reexamination request showing that both a prior patent and published reference materials described the underlying technology long before Acceris made its claim. Today the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) granted EFF's reexamination request, ruling that there were substantial new questions of patentability.
"Our American patent system is meant to encourage invention and innovation," said EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn. "Undeserved patents instead serve to quash competition and hurt business and consumers."
"We are pleased that the USPTO agrees with the substantial new questions of patentability raised in EFF's request, and we look forward to the USPTO's ultimate decision on this patent," said Nikhil Iyengar of Fenwick &West.
The challenge to this patent is part of EFF's Patent Busting Project, which combats the chilling effects of bad patents on the public and consumer interests. So far eight patents targeted by EFF have been busted, invalidated, narrowed, or had a reexamination granted by the Patent Office.
For more on EFF's Patent Busting Project:
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Fenwick & West LLP