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September 30, 2009

Big River, Sprint settle patent litigation

Big River to compensate for a non-exclusive license to use Sprint technology

By CBR Staff Writer

Sprint and Big River Telephone Company have settled their ongoing patent litigation. Sprint had sued Big River, along with three other telecommunications companies, in January 2008 alleging infringement of six patents owned by Sprint relating to Voice over Packet (VoP) communications systems. Sprint previously settled with the three other telecommunications companies.

The financial terms of the Big River settlement are confidential. Under the terms of the settlement, Big River will compensate for a non-exclusive license to use Sprint’s VoP patent portfolio to provide services to predefined cable companies.

This portfolio contains more than 120 US patents, and numerous foreign patents, covering systems, components and methods for carrying voice traffic over a packet-based network, such as the internet. Specifically, many of these patents cover telecommunications systems offered in conjunction with cable television and high speed internet services. Under this license, Big River may operate its systems under Sprint’s patents.

Jerry Howe, president of Big River, said: We are glad to put this litigation behind us and return our attention to providing our clients with excellent telecommunication services. We are pleased to be a licensee of Sprint’s patents and look forward to providing our services under the protection of this portfolio. We recognise the importance of Sprint’s VoP patent portfolio.

Harley Ball, vice president of intellectual property at Sprint, said: Sprint was intent on seeking an injunction to preserve its competitive position as a leader in providing cable VoP solutions; however, we are pleased that we were able to enter into an agreement that allowed Big River to be licensed so that it can continue to service its existing customers and smaller cable operations.

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