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IRL sponsor loses 2 copyright infringement lawsuits
A federal jury yesterday ordered Vonage (Andretti Green Racing associate sponsor) Holdings to pay Sprint Nextel (NASCAR sponsor) $69.5 million in damages for violating six of its patents, prompting analysts to question whether the troubled Internet phone company could survive.

Vonage, which lost another major patent case earlier this year, said it would appeal the decision that sent its shares plummeting 33 percent.

Vonage must also pay Sprint a 5 percent royalty on future revenue, the jury decided after the three-week trial in U.S. District Court in Kansas. Sprint, which is based in Reston, said it planned to ask the court to permanently ban Vonage from using its patented technology, and District Judge John Lungstrum can triple the damage award if he agrees with the jury's decision that Vonage deliberately infringed the patents.

In a statement, Sprint said it was pleased with the verdict and viewed it as a "validation of the strength and depth of its patent portfolio."

Vonage's chief legal official, Sharon O'Leary, said the company's 2.4 million subscribers would not be affected. "Vonage has already demonstrated that it can keep its focus on customers and on its core business while managing ongoing litigation," she said.

Sprint's victory is the latest blow to Holmdel, N.J.-based Vonage, which lost a separate patent case to Verizon Communications in March. Analysts said they did not expect yesterday's verdict to affect Vonage's appeal in the Verizon case.

That verdict called for Vonage to pay Verizon $58 million in damages and 5.5 percent of its future revenue. Vonage's appeal is pending in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. More at Washington Post

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