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Providers should look into 8×8’s new patent

Earlier today leading VoIP provider 8×8 (Packet8) announced that they had been award a new patent.

Typically when I see news like this I pass. But when I read through the release, I became much more interested.

I became interested in 8×8’s new patent because it could potential impact other VoIP providers and VoIP equipment manufacturers in a major way. I say this because the patent touches upon a commonly used method for setting-up VoIP phones and adapters fro use with their service – auto-provisioning.

According to 8×8’s release,

The patent relates to a telephony communications approach that implements an auto-discovery feature that enables an endpoint device to automatically locate and establish communication with a desirable server in a web of interconnected servers. In one specific example implementation, the endpoint device is an Internet-type telephone communicating with a remote server in an Internet-based Private Branch Exchange (IPBX).

In non-patent speak it essentially describes a method by which an endpoint (desktop VoIP phone) when connected to a WAN (Wide Area Network) will automatically locate a VoIP provider’s server (in order to download configuration, settings, etc). Once this connection is made to the “home base” the device and the server can then communicate “data” between one another.

Now I’m no patent lawyer and certainly some of the verbose used in the patent is lost on me, but it sure seems that what 8X8 has patented is how just about every residential and hosted VoIP provider goes about offering “plug-n-play” functionality to the end customer as well as the ability to push new settings, firmwares, etc seamlessly.

So if you’re a VoIP provider you might want to take a look at this one a little closer. I know I’m going to.

Because this potentially could alter the way a lot of providers deploy their endpoint equipment.

Garrett Smith

Garrett Smith is a Technology Marketing and Sales Professional

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Andrew

    I understand less about patent law (especially in the US) than anyone, but I am pretty sure this is akin to trying to patent a chair.

  2. Ray

    Sounds like they basically patent TFTP and DHCP scope option.

  3. Matt

    well, 8×8 already has 70 + patents which are generating almost no money for the company, so, I wouldn’t read too much into this new patent. 8×8 never enforces their patents, so, even if they do have something unique here, every other company can run all over it and do whatever they want with the technology because 8×8 will never go after them (even though they have a person in charge of Patents at 8×8 who is supposed to be enforcing the technology – Joe Parkinson – who is being paid $100,000 to essentially do absolutely nothing all day).

  4. Garrett Smith

    Way to throw Joe under the bus Matt :)

  5. Sean Wilder

    I thought the same thing when I read the press release. It seems like we (Fonality) are doing the same thing with our hybrid-hosted architecture.

  6. Neal Gilbert

    You really have to wonder about the purpose of a patent like this. If you recall, RIM was nearly shut down a few years ago by a patent and Vonage has lost several patent related lawsuits.

    The industry may not have to worry about 8×8 enforcing their patents, but what about the possibility of future owner doing just that.

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