Frontier Zaps Google With VoIP Patent Lawsuit

The same day Google Inc. announced its making Google Voice available to the public, news broke that Frontier Communications Corp. isnt having any of it. Frontier is suing Google for infringing on a new patent that covers enhanced telephone services meaning voice over the Internet.

Google is causing great and irreparable damage to Frontier, Frontier lawyers wrote in court papers filed on June 22.

Pshaw, says Google.

The claims are entirely without merit, and well defend against them vigorously, a Google spokesman told BusinessWeek.

The lawsuit comes a month after Google said its buying Global IP Solutions, which makes voice and videoconferencing software. Google orchestrated the $68 billion deal to expand its Internet video and audio functionality.

To be sure, Google is encroaching more and more on traditional telecom territory. Frontier, a rural incumbent thats acquiring millions of Verizon landlines, is trying to bust out of its wireline legacy to maintain relevance in the 21st Century. Going up against Google seems a David-and-Goliath proposition but potentially a smart one on Frontiers part. If Frontier can create enough doubt in the courts minds that Google is illegally using its intellectual property, it could land a tidy settlement, something that often happens in patent-infringement cases. The addition of several million dollars to its coffers surely wouldnt upset Frontier.

Shares of Google were trading down .4 percent at $484.29 at about 2:30 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday while Frontier was down .91 percent to $7.62. Google boasted revenue of $23.7 billion last year, compared to $2.12 billion for Frontier.

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