June 5, 2006 8:01 AM PDT

Net2Phone sues Skype

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Internet phone company Net2Phone has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against rival Skype Technologies and its parent company, eBay.

Net2Phone, which filed its lawsuit last week in U.S. District Court in New Jersey, alleges that Skype infringed on its patent, No. 6,108,704. The Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) patent was issued to Net2Phone in August 2000.

Net2Phone's lawsuit comes as the VoIP industry has seen a flood of new entrants from small start-ups to large, established Internet service providers.

Net2Phone alleges that Skype, a wholly owned subsidiary of eBay, violated its "point-to-point Internet Protocol" patent. The patent calls for the exchange of IP addresses between processing units in order to establish a direct communications link between the devices via the Internet.

Skype uses a peer-to-peer technology to operate its VoIP service, whereas companies such as Vonage and AT&T largely use a system that is centrally managed to transfer calls to a traditional phone network.

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Net2Phone Inc., Skype, patent, VoIP, eBay Inc.

14 comments

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lawsuits lawsuits
Instead of making better service and develop their company seems that they are better looking for some easy money possibilities. It's like last scream of dying ideas-less company.... Congrats! :-(
Posted by cocos2000 (37 comments )
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US Patent's Office
I've seen a copy of the patent. Even under a brief examination there is an awful lot of "Prior Art". This should have been stripped out by the Patents Office at the time of the original grant. Certainly the patent should be examined for validity before any court action is based up on it.

Perhaps the judge will grant an interim injunction banning Skype within the USA, whilst the rest of the world can continue to benefit.

Seems the US Patent office is a bit of a meal ticket for the lawyers, but the general public don't seem to gain any from this process.
Posted by Brockleybadger (10 comments )
Link Flag
How stupid!
When are we going to get rid of such vague patents as this? The idea of exchanging IP addresses for point-to-point communication is hardly revolutionary, and it seems this would fall under the category of logical next-step technology. No one should be able to patent simple procedures such as this!
Posted by robbtuck (132 comments )
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Here we go again!
Net2Phone? Ah, yes, that piece of crap malware I installed with my
AOL disc eons ago.

Skype comes along and does a better job. In fact, I had forgotten
Net2Phone even existed for about five years.
Posted by fakespam (239 comments )
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Um....duh...
Well how else do you propose data be transferred over the internet? This is a patent that should never have been issued. How is voice data different from video, audio (as in music), or network data? It's all digitized and transmitted, via the exchanging of IP addresses in order to get to its final destination. If that's not prior art, I don't know what is....
Posted by fourpastmidnight (10 comments )
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net2phone was stolen from vocaltec
It sounds like a case of the pot calling the kettle black... Net2phone source code was originally stolen from Vocaltec, so why should they get upset that someone is re-inventing this technology?
Posted by ajx1 (14 comments )
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After a 10 year head start...
this failed company is mad because another company took initiative and brought internet telephony?!?! SORRY! No sympathy from me! Just because they pissed away the dot.com millions they made during the go go days doesn't mean Vonage should pay for it!
Posted by frankz00 (196 comments )
Reply Link Flag
patent this!
Is anyone else out there sick of all these frivolous "patent infringement" lawsuits? Why do these patent-holders get to claim rights to the ability to pass IP addresses? Sure, I believe in protecting against such as out-right verbatim plagurism, but why does anyone get to patent "exchange of ip addresses to establish a point to point connection"? I sure hope no one has patented "Hello How are you?" or "I'm fine thank you." because I use those pretty regularly.
Maybe we should all turn a cold shoulder to these so-called patent holders everytime they sue with one of these absurd claims.
Posted by BengalTigger (36 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Like DNS, but...
The first claim almost reads like a DNS process, except that the
server checks for the presence of the requested machine and that
the process is running.

Anybody have a circa 1994 or earlier example of that behavior in
another product or system?
Posted by bill redmann (1 comment )
Link Flag
Well . . .
the idea behind cultural development was that copyrights and
patents would expire a few years after the original product/idea
was published/sold and then would enter the general culture for
public use.

this practice stopped when big hollywood came along in the
1930s and when big blue came along in the late 70s. now it's
just a nasty business

the point i made was actually made by Dvorak on an early
episode of TWiT last year and it just stuck with me.
Posted by fakespam (239 comments )
Link Flag
Reading the patent
In any patent case, it's important to not argue about whether a patent is valid or not. It does not matter. What matters is that the patent is or is not valid based on prior art.

Reading claim 1, is basically says "A program that can query the on-line status of a remote device and obtain its IP address". This sounds very much exactly what "Dynamic DNS" services do. The first draft for that work was published in January 1995, well before the filing date (<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://tools.ietf.org/wg/dnsind/draft-ietf-dnsind-dynDNS/draft-ietf-dnsind-dynDNS-00.txt" target="_newWindow">http://tools.ietf.org/wg/dnsind/draft-ietf-dnsind-dynDNS/draft-ietf-dnsind-dynDNS-00.txt</a>). Further, the concept of Dynamic DNS updates goes way back to RFC 1035 published in 1987 (or perhaps before).

Claim 4 is the next independent claim: this is precisely the functionality of a master and slave DNS server for a domain.

Claim 10 suggests that a client might actually use Claim 1 and 4. Indeed, it will. Is this an invention? I'd say not, considering that 1 and 4 were already invented. Obviously, there had to be applications in mind in order to create the dynamic DNS system.

This is getting dull, but I'm sure that prior art can be found for all of these claims.
Posted by paulej (1261 comments )
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not to worry but skype phone does not up load the voice over the Hugesnet satelite well at all but you can hear the land line person(download) very well.. There is too much latency for the residental service for it to work well enough to have a two way conversation. The same is true for all the VOIP's I have tried thus far.

People who are very rural do not have a choice for high speed service other than satelite and it is not as reilable as the cable, FIOS or DSL which in our case is not available to the 24597 zipcode.

Someone needs to develope a service for those of us that are rural, make a joint venture one take care of the Cable. FIOS, and DSL and the other work on improving the Satelite communication for the rural internet people is my suggestion and you will have more of a diverse market and so on.

K M
kmitchellphoto@gmail.com
Posted by SummerAngel (1 comment )
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