Boo-hoo, boo, hoo-hooooo
We are now five months into 2007 and, needless to say, it’s been a very challenging year.”
–Vonage CEO Jeffrey Citron
Looks like Vonage may have found itself a new paddle with which to navigate a certain creek it’s been traveling up lately. During a dismal quarterly earnings call yesterday, Vonage chief executive Jeffrey Citron said the Internet telephone company has developed technical workarounds for two of the three Verizon patents it’s been found to infringe. “We believe we have workable designs for the two name-translation patents and intend to begin deploying the solution to our customers shortly,” said Citron. “In addition, we are continuing our development of the workaround for the wireless patent.”
Citron said the workarounds will be relatively inexpensive to implement and require minimal effort from customers. “We will begin rolling these workarounds out shortly, hopefully in the next few weeks, and we believe they will work,” he added. I imagine Citron crossed his fingers when he said that last bit, because if they don’t, and the infringement ruling stands, Vonage must pay Verizon more than $58 million in damages and 5.5% of future subscriptions from lines that use the disputed patents. That’s an ugly future for a company whose shares have lost about 80% of their value–even without increasing competition from cable companies.