Ok, this is getting interesting. Just few days back I had mentioned about Vonage getting Virtual Number patent, today 8x8, inc. provider of innovative business communications solutions, today announced that it has been granted United States Patent number 7,684,554 entitled "Virtual Telephone Extension." The basic difference I can think of between these two patents is that the Virtual Number used is for different purpose and use case. Iam not sure how it will pan out if Vonage goes after 8x8 or vice versa. Sometimes I wonder how you really sue someone based on patents. There are so many complications in a technology patents that it’s hard to decide either way.
The patent relates to methods of routing communications to users and associated equipment by utilizing a user identifier that serves as a virtual extension number. By utilizing the invention described by the patent, users can remotely direct their calls to communication devices at various geographic, voicemail and email destinations.
Here is the abstract of the Patent:
The present invention is directed to a method and system for routing communications. A plurality of communication devices are coupled to a communications network. Each communication device has a device identifier. A user-programmable database associates each of a plurality of user identifiers with a device identifier. A call-routing switch arrangement is coupled to the communication network through a portal communication device having a portal identifier. A user designates a destination user identifier when making a communication. The call-routing switches the call, directing the call to a destination device identifier responsive to the user-programmable database association between the destination user identifier and a device identifier. According to the present invention, communications are directed to users and are routed to associated equipment, a user identifier serving as a virtual extension number. Users remotely program the database to direct their calls to communication devices at various geographic, voice mail and e-mail destinations.
Check out the following Link for more information about the patent.