Google Voice Challenged By Patent Suit

    June 22, 2010

Frontier Communications, a communications provider with a market cap of around $2.4 billion, is not happy with Google.  In fact, Frontier is dissatisfied to the point that it sued the search giant this morning, claiming that Google Voice infringes on a patent it holds.

This isn’t a question of whether or not some minor feature bears a faint similarity to a concept Frontier dreamed up.  Frontier is instead going after one of Google Voice’s biggest draws, and the patent it’s put forward isn’t nearly as vague and all-encompassing as some we’ve seen.

Let’s do a little comparing and contrasting.  Google Voice, for its part, encourages users to "[u]se a single number that rings you anywhere."  Frontier, according to Reuters, has a patent on something that would allow subscribers to "be reached on multiple telephone lines from a single dial-in number."

Again, then, this lawsuit isn’t as wild and desperate as many that target Google.

Still, there will no doubt be questions about prior art, and Google has pockets that are perhaps deep enough to fight off any claim.

Also, in what can’t be a good sign for Frontier, some of its shareholders have already decided to turn their backs on the company, sending the stock down 1.27 percent so far today.  Google’s up 1.38 percent by comparison.