After Failed Negotiations, AT&T Sues Cox for Patent Infringement

AT&T has sued its rival Cox in Delaware federal court for patent infringement after years of negotiations failed to bear fruit.

Atlanta-based Cox, the cable operator offering services in 22 states, is accused of infringing on eight AT&T patents that all “relate to systems and methods for improving the quality and reducing the cost of telecommunications network services.”

AT&T has requested a jury trial and is seeking a judgment that Cox owes royalty payments for use of AT&T’s inventions.

The intellectual property dispute between the competitors dates back to at least 2009 when AT&T contacted Cox regarding alleged infringement of patents, including some at issue in the current lawsuit.

“Despite years of protracted negotiations, Cox has sought to avoid payments for its infringement by repeatedly delaying and rescheduling negotiations,” AT&T declared in the 33-page complaint. “Given every opportunity, Cox has failed to provide substantial arguments for either non-infringement or invalidity of AT&T’s patents. Cox’s conduct constitutes a steadfast refusal to take a license, even though Cox generates billions of dollars in revenue every year through its use of AT&T’s technologies.”

Todd Smith, a Cox spokesman, said the company learned of the complaint today and doesn’t comment on active litigation.

Through its television, phone and Internet offerings, Cox has infringed on AT&T’s patents, AT&T alleges. Advances in three of the patents at issue have “made packet-based telephone service acceptable to users accustomed to the quality of circuit switched telephone service,” according to AT&T’s complaint.

Ars Technica first reported on the lawsuit, which it provided a copy of here.

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