Now that the merger between AT&T and T-Mobile USA is off the table, Sprint is in the awkward position of trying to find things for its highly-paid legal team to do. No, they didn’t issue a statement on their (binding?) promise to deliver the latest version of Android to all devices released after May 2011 (seriously, get on it, Sprint).
Instead, Sprint has hit the U.S. Court system in a four-point attacking, opening patent infringement lawsuits against cable companies Time Warner, Comcast, Cable One, and Cox Communications. In four separate lawsuits, Sprint has charged each company with infringing upon as many as 12 patents Sprint holds from the 1990s. Sprint believes the companies in question are infringing upon Sprint’s patents on technology used for the transmission of voice data packets.
The companies have realized the great value in this technology and have misappropriated it without Sprint’s permission.Sprint
Some of these patents were the same Vonage was claimed to infringe upon back in 2007, a case Sprint won when Vonage agreed to pay $80 Million to Sprint for a licence on the patented technology. It’s unclear whether Sprint will be as successful in current lawsuits, though the fact that they’ve already won a similar patent infringement case suggest that Sprint may have a solid case.
Nobody is exactly sure why Sprint is choosing to launch legal battles related to these patents now. It’s likely that the companies infringing upon the patents have been doing so for quite some time, leading us to suspect that Sprint needs a little extra cash to help pay the bills, or perhaps to take another shot at acquiring T-Mobile USA.