Mitel charges ShoreTel with VOIP patent infringement

Legal action thwarts ShoreTel IPO

Mitel last week sued VOIP rival ShorTel over alledged patent infringements, thwarting Shoretel's plan to go IPO and raise US$82.9 million.

Mitel issued a press release announcing the suit last Wednesday, the day before ShoreTel had planned to issue its initial public stock offering. In the suit Mitel says one patent is for a Web-page generator that interfaces to IP PBXs for management and configuration and another is a service-provisioning architecture. A third describes a system for users to post to the phone system whether they are there to receive calls and a fourth that lays out LAN support for an IP PBX system.

Both companies make VOIP equipment for businesses, and the patent flap could affect how attractive potential investors find the ShoreTel stock. ShoreTel told Reuters that it could not comment on the suit or the delayed IPO because it was in the quiet period preceding the IPO.

Meanwhile, Mitel is in the midst of trying to acquire Inter-Tel, another VOIP vendor focused on small to midsize businesses. The deal is pending until Inter-Tel stockholders have a chance to vote on the deal. That vote was also scheduled for last week but has been postponed until July 23.

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