Dec 21 AT 9:13 AM Anthony Domanico 51 Comments

Sprint’s lawyers are bored, sue 4 cable companies for patent infringement


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.

Source: Bloomberg

Anthony loves all things technology, from hardware to apps and games. You can connect with him via Google+ or Twitter by clicking one of the fancy doo-dads above.

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    wow everybody is suing everybody.. getting old quick. Love the buy tmobile , you added in there

    • Sean the Electrofreak

      It’s likely these patents are due to expire soon anyhow, so they’re getting their lawsuits in while they can. :-\

    • Steve Barry

      Curious as to why Sprint would buy T-Mobile? Two differnet technologies, so what would be the benefit for them? For us? Not being sarcastic or a dic here either, just genuinley curious.

      • Baron

        I don’t think that matters too much with the different technologies, Sprint bought Nextel with their iDEN network and that’s going the way of the dodo these days.

    • WlfHart

      Didn’t Sprint make a bid on T-Mo years ago? Could be interesting if that happened.

    • LukeT32

      No way they could aqquire T-Mo for the same reasons AT&T couldn’t. Plus no one would trust them after all the effort they put into blocking the AT&T deal.

  • stenzor

    With so many patent news, perhaps someone should create a dedicated Android related patent blog.. anyone? ;)

    • mac08wrx

      lol yeah i would like to see that

    • Futureboy

      If I ran the blog there would only be one article: “Everybody is Suing Everybody Else”

      • stenzor

        And users would only be able to down vote other users’ comments with a big button labeled “sue”

        • lxgeorge

          Hahahaha that site would be so boring

      • azulpiscina

        You mean: “Apple is Suing everybody else”


    • ranwanimator

      And everyone who visited it would blow their brains out over the stupidity after about 5 minutes of reading.

      • stenzor

        So like 4chan basically?

    • koorsr

      And you could include a nice infograph showing who’s suing who like that one that’s been floating around for a couple of months. The problem would be that you’d be updating it weekly, so that might be a pain.

    • dafi81

      i would sue it :D

    • Homncruse

      I’m tempted to register and have two buttons for a poll: Innovate and Litigate.

      Innovate, of course, is greyed out.

  • dpleus

    I definitely think it it time for an overhaul of the patent system, it seems almost ever day that a new patent lawsuit seems to come up in the news. I don’t have a solution to the patent problem, but I due have a solution to the litigation problems, in the words of the immortal Shakespeare ‘The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.’

  • Donald Williams

    WOW.. Sprint is now going after the big boys? If they were infringing on some of your patents what they hell took so long to sue. They been around for a LONG TIME. There needs to be an overhall or a time limit on these things. Its getting crazy.

  • Kevin Amundson

    This is getting ridiculous.

    • kazahani

      No, it’s been ridiculous for quite some time now.

      Too bad everyone in Washington is too busy trying to figure out how to keep the whole government from shutting down to put in place some common sense regulations.

  • ndub21

    Apparently sueing anyone you can is the cool thing to do these days. Everyone’s doing it.

    • Thomas Biard

      Its a good time to be a lawyer, its a better time to be a court reporter… Could you imagine how mundain those patent hearings must be? Especially when debating how data transfers and stuff like that!

  • Deter

    Seems logical to me that when loosing money hand over fist as a provider they gotta do SOMEthing to stay afloat.

  • Anthony Domanico

    As a change of pace, I’m going to go ahead and sue everyone who comments on this post. ha

    • stenzor


    • droiddewd

      Good luck finding any of my money cause I cant even find it lol ;OD

  • kazahani

    Way to troll, Sprint.

    It’s not like you have an LTE network to be rolling out, or anything.

    • cwjones4

      ya, it’s not like they have a separate engineering team to actually do the LTE roll-out. I forget how valuable engineers are in the court of law.

  • GeauxLSU

    The probably waited for the cable companies to build up a large customer base so the value of the suit would be bigger. Why sue a company with 100 customers when you can wait till they have 10,000.

  • breinhar

    Apple isn’t the only sue happy company these days

  • Louis A

    They need money to build their network. What better and rich way to do than to go after the big dogs

  • triangle

    Sprint is suing the cable companies because they are no longer partners and will be competitors in the future with cable deciding to sell their spectrum to Verizon Wireless and sell their wireless products. The timing of this indicates it’s definitely not a coincidence.

    Sprint was definitely looking to work with cable companies in the future and held off from doing anything as a result. Sprint provided infrastructure to Time Warner Cable for its voice service as part of the triple play, but Time Warner decided to do this internally. Sprint still provides infrastructure for some cable companies, like Suddenlink.

    Sprint also needs the money to help pay for its network upgrade, so if suing the cable companies allows them to help pay for rolling out LTE, I can’t say I really have a problem with it.

  • droilfade

    Hey everyone is playing this game…I want in..Alirght…..who wants to get sued! Email me..and then you can sue me :)

  • Skis03

    Cable companies need to be sued they screw over everybody.

  • Torrance Barber

    Ah..corporate greed….they can’t squeeze more money out of us so they squeeze it out of each other

  • Deter

    Seeing as i don’t subscribe to either sprint or one of the cable companies they are going after i don’t particularly care, but it doesn’t seem wrong to me IF they have patents for specific processes/products and want to enforce them. I do have a problem with companies holding patents so old they pertain to a floppy disc suing another manufacturer of smart phones because they can’t beat them in features, design, or price (looking at YOU Apple)

  • mfleming7024

    This is getting pathetic, it really is…I dont want to point any fingers but everyone needs to chill out over the whole patent wars cough APPLE cough cough how are companies expected to innovate if they cant sell products in over half the world because of devices being banned?

  • ramenchef

    So, when’s that patent reform coming?

  • AsakuraZero

    because Suing OEM its too mainstream lets sue cable companies

  • Baron Munchausen

    Really..this is sad.. remember when companies actually ‘invent’ something. Now all they do is play the ‘we sue’ game.. tis sad.

  • Jorge Eslava

    The patent system is a joke as it is, it needs to be changed.

  • Dboy352

    You read more and more everyday about people sueing everyone. Between Apple and the world (but mostly samsung from what I have seen) and the guy that burned himself with hot COFFEE from McDonalds I don’t know why I havent sued anyone not driving a prius for producing emissions with their cars that is entering my lungs and possibly causing something that I would have gotten anyways lol.

  • Marc’us H.

    I should have been a patent lawyer …

  • TruFactz


  • inviolable

    lol I love the headline

  • Marcus

    This is ridiculous. Why is everybody suing everybody? Sprint has had these patents since the 90′s!? Seems like they’re up to something..

  • Adryan maldonado

    If we had a chinese based calender where the years were dedicated to animals well lets just say we wouldnt have years of animals. This year would be the “Year of the Patent lawsuits”

  • humidity


  • donger

    lawsuits left and right.