Verizon Communications suffered a major blow in its patent battles on Monday, when a federal court ruled that cable company Cox Communications had not infringed on its patents.
The telecommunications giant has accused Cox of violating six of its patents related to Internet telephony. But a jury for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia decided against Verizon on all six patents.
Verizon settled a similar suit against digital-phone service provider Vonage last year, squeezing about $117.5 million from the troubled provider of voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP. Against Cox, it had been seeking past damages of $404 million.
Many analysts and experts believed that Verizon had been emboldened by its Vonage patent battle and was looking to go after bigger players, such as cable providers. Companies such as Cablevision, Comcast, and Time Warner Cable have been offering VoIP services for the past few years. And they've been very successful in converting millions of Verizon customers to their service.
But with this latest court decision, it looks as if Verizon may have to rethink its legal strategy. The company recently reached a deal with Comcast in which both companies agreed not to sue each other for a period of five years for any patent infringement. But there had been speculation that Verizon might target Time Warner Cable and Cablevision.
"Despite the decision, we believe our patents were infringed," Verizon said in a statement. "We will continue to innovate and protect our intellectual property."
The company also told The Wall Street Journal that it hasn't decided whether to appeal the decision.