Sprint awarded $139.8M in TWC/Charter patent suit

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Sprint filed suit in 2011 against Time Warner Cable, Comcast, Cox and Cable One, claiming these companies violated 12 of its VoIP patents without the company’s permission.

Sprint was victorious in its 6-year battle against Time Warner Cable/Charter as a jury awarded the service provider $139.8 million in damages, finding that the cable MSO infringed on the IXC’s VoIP patents.

In 2011, Sprint filed the suit against Time Warner Cable, Comcast, Cox and Cable One, claiming these companies violated 12 of its VoIP patents without the company’s permission.

The jury, according to a Bloomberg report, found that TWC's infringement was willful, meaning the judge could increase the damage award up to three times its value.

RELATED: Sprint reaches VoIP patent agreement with Big River Telephone

Sprint spokeswoman Lisa Dimino, said that the jury found that Time Warner Cable infringed five VoIP patents and “awarded our full damages demand.”

“We are disappointed with the outcome and are considering our options,” said Justin Venech, a Charter spokesman.

Besides Charter, a similar VoIP patent case trial against Comcast is scheduled to begin next week before the same judge in Kansas City, according to the court’s docket.

Comcast filed a countersuit against Sprint in 2014. A jury later ordered Sprint to pay $7.5 million to Comcast in 2014.

Cox was able to have Sprint’s VoIP patent case dismissed after it was transferred to a Delaware court. The judge’s decision was, according to a Law 360 report, overruled on appeal last year, meaning Sprint's suit against Cox is ongoing. Finally, Sprint's lawsuit against Cable One was stayed in 2015.

Cable operators are not the only companies Sprint has sued for alleged VoIP patent infringement. Sprint also sued four other companies—Paetec Holding and Nuvox (now Windstream), Broadvox Holdings and Big River Telephone Company—for infringing on multiple patents. 

Patent infringement lawsuits in the VoIP space are nothing new. As VoIP began to take up more market share, telcos like Sprint and Verizon began taking competitive VoIP providers like Vonage in 2008 and 2009 to court over various patent infringements.