Frontier Communications sues Google over Google Voice

Frontier Communications, a TV, phone, and internet provider, is suing Google over its Google Voice service, which launched to US users yesterday, according to Reuters.

Google is offering a unified telephone number which can be used to contact all of an individual’s other numbers and eliminates the need to tell all your friends you’ve changed phone. Frontier claims this was its idea and it has a patent to back it up. 

The patent, number 7,742,468 is dated June 22 and is entitled “Systems and methods for providing enhanced telephone services”. It describes how “a subscriber … may be reached on multiple telephone lines from a single dial-in number.” An image from the patent is shown below.

Frontier wants the courts to halt Google’s progress with Voice, which is nice timing now that it has officially launched, and order the search giant to pay over a handsome wad of cash. Its complaint to the US District Court in Delaware stated: “Google’s deliberate infringement of the (Frontier patent) has greatly and irreparably damaged Frontier.” Ka-ching!

Frontier also appears to have an unusual relationship with Yahoo. There are no official ties, but its homepage is littered with Yahoo references, including two Yahoo search features, which we thought had died centuries ago, a Yahoo toolbar, and a My Yahoo page. That’s a lot of Yahoos, suggesting a closer relationship than meets the eye. If this is so, then it adds further insight to the lawsuit, considering the long-standing rivalry between Yahoo and Google.

Google told Bloomberg that Frontier’s claims are “entirely without merit” and that Google would “defend against them vigorously”. Let the war ensue.

Frontier patent