Telco giant Verizon (VZ) squeezed $117.5 million and a lot of life out of Internet phone provider Vonage (VG) last year in a long patent war. Now it’s trying to do the same thing to the cable industry. But that will be much harder to do: Not only are the cable guys in much stronger position financially than Vonage, they may now have legal precdent on their side.
That’s because Verizon just lost a patent infringement case against Cox Communications, the third-largest U.S. cable provider. That won’t be relevant to Comcast (CMCSA), which settled with Verizon to not sue each other about patents for at least five years.
But it could provide ammunition to Charter (CHTR), which Verizon is suing, and as Stifel, Nicolaus analysts point out in a note today, Time Warner Cable (TWC) and Cablevision (CVC), who could be negotiating with the telco at some point, if they aren’t already.