AT&T, CenturyLink, Windstream face DSL patent suits

AT&T (NYSE: T), CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) and Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN) have become embroiled in a patent battle with Intellectual Ventures, a patent holding company, over a number of its DSL patents.

Melissa Finocchio, Intellectual Ventures litigation counsel, said in a suit filed last week in a Texas federal court that "AT&T, CenturyLink and Windstream Communications are infringing IV patents that cover fundamental and important aspects of DSL technology and services."

She added, "While our primary objective is to enter license agreements, we will enforce our rights when necessary."

Among the many patents the holding company said Verizon violated was for what is called a "Universal access multimedia data network." Inventors of the patent that was filed in 1997 when the company was Bell Atlantic say it provides a "system and method for providing access to on-line multimedia services" using ADSL loop technology.

Intellectual Ventures took ownership of the patents, reports Geek Wire, when it merged with Oversource Co., which had been assigned the patents in 2011. 

All three of the telcos have not responded to the suit.

There have been a slew of patent suits against the major telcos lately. According to a report by Sara Jeruss, Robin Feldman and Joshua Walker, the number of lawsuits filed by patent holders has increased from 22 percent of the patent lawsuits filed in 2007 to more than 40 percent of all patent lawsuits filed today.

Other patent holders such as Brandywine Communications Technologies and Klausner Technologies have also been actively taking on a number of the major service providers and equipment suppliers throughout the past year.

Brandywine Communications Technologies, a patent holding company, claims in a separate suit that AT&T, Verizon and CenturyLink violated seven different DSL-related patents which Brandywine says it owns. Overall, Brandywine has sued over 39 different service providers, including Windstream, IKANO and Megapath, while trying to settle one of its cases with EarthLink (Nasdaq: ELNK).

For more:
Geek Wire has this article

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