Monday, July 10, 2006

Vonage - New Twist on Patent Litigation - Part 2

Welcome to Part 2! By now, you should know the basic Vonage story this series of posts is built around.

Part 2 is a bit different, but there's an interesting connection here.

This afternoon I appeared on ROB TV here in Toronto to comment on the story. No big deal, but here's the twist. It's summer, and my oldest son, Max, was around and came along with me to the studio. My entourage, so to speak!

I wanted to share a couple of things that came from his being there. First, while I was in the studio, Max snapped a photo of me and the host, Pat Bolland with the other part of my entourage, the Nokia N90.

So, that's what it looks like when you're on TV.....


Ok, that's the fun stuff. For the rest, I'm going to let Max do the talking - this is his second guest posting on my blog, and I sure hope he does more of these. Take it away, Max....

"While waiting for my dad to make his appearance on ROB TV, I was looking through a magazine on one of the tables in the studio lobby, when a Vonage ad caught my eye. I began to look at it, when I realized that the product being advertised, was an idea that I had 2 years ago when I was first introduced to internet telephony. It was a USB device the size of a flash drive with an dual optical microphone/headset port that could be universally connected to any computer containing your account information (I.e. how many minutes you have left, your address book, etc.) and VOIP software, for immediate launch and use upon connection, without any downloads being necessary.

It didn�t take me very long at all to notice that this was my idea. I said �Hey, dad� you remember in 2004 when we met Niklas Zennstrom? I showed him this idea!�. While recalling what happened during that time, he stated that, yes, indeed, I did show him some ideas for VOIP ideas that he vaguely remembered, and said that this was one of them. At this time, I had several emotions running through my head such as �wow� the next big breakthrough in VOIP technology was technically made by me?�, �Could Zennstrom have taken this idea and sold it to Jeff Citron for Vonage?�, �will any of my other ideas have a breakthrough like this?�. Upon all this happening, we were called into the studio, and we further discussed this on the way back to the house, where we decided that this would be a good blogging topic, and would go especially well with an idea copyright infringement occurring with Vonage.

Thanks for reading!"

Max Arnold

For reference, Max is talking about the V Phone that Vonage recently launched - here's the press release, photo below...


Most of you don't know Max, but he's my 13 year old son, and someone should hire this guy quick. As he mentioned above, not only did he think of this idea and share it with Niklas Zennstrom 2 years ago, but he also figured out how today's Vonage story has strong parallels to his idea that became the V Phone. I'm impressed.

So, for the patent lawyers out there, if any of you think there's a way for Max to get some true due for his ideas, he'll be happy to strike a deal with you! And just in case you think he's pulling your leg, he really is one of the few kids in North America who have met Niklas personally - more than once. Kevin Delaney, too, and he's in town here with us - I think they need to get together...

Niklas, Max, and Jon 002.jpg

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