Spherix, a holder of Nortel patents, has filed two lawsuits against Level 3 Communications, the former tw telecom (which was merged with Level 3 in 2014), and FairPoint Communications claiming the companies infringed on Ethernet intellectual property formerly owned by Nortel Networks.
Filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, the lawsuits relate to U.S. Patent RE40,999, titled "VLAN Frame Format."
According to Spherix, patent '999 is closely associated with the IEEE's networking standard that supports virtual LANs (VLANs) on an Ethernet network.
Anthony Hayes, CEO of Spherix, said the patents are based on inventions developed by Nortel Networks that were later acquired from an affiliate of the Rockstar Consortium which "paid $4.5B to acquire many of the Company's patents, together with many additional patents ultimately distributed among consortium members."
Hayes said Spherix will provide Level 3 and FairPoint the option to purchase licenses to implement the VLAN Ethernet technology in their networks.
"There are provisions contained within these two new complaints offering the defendants the opportunity to enter good faith negotiations for fair and reasonable licenses, in lieu of the Company formally serving the defendants," Hayes said.
Level 3, which purchased tw telecom in 2014, told FierceTelecom in an e-mail that "as a company policy, we don't comment on pending actions or litigation."
FairPoint, which was also named in the suit, had not yet responded to FierceTelecom's request for a comment.
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