A British high court has ruled that BT has infringed a patent relating to broadband technology owned by US-based vendor ASSIA.
The decision comes after ASSIA sued the UK-based operator for infringement of three patents in connection with three BT broadband services – 20CN, 21CN and Next Generation Access (NGA).
The court ruled that two ASSIA patents on DSL management technologies are valid and that BT infringes one of the patents relating to its NGA network.
NGA is the fastest growing portion of BT's broadband network, and provides high-speed access via VDSL.
Specifically, the patents cover inventions “fundamental to dynamic monitoring and automatic optimization of DSL networks,” ASSIA said in a statement, that enable operators to “increase average broadband speeds and to improve reliability across their networks”.
CTO Marc Goldburg added: "We attempted for years to work with BT in this spirit. When it became clear that BT was using ASSIA's technology without a license and was not willing to license ASSIA's technology or products, it became necessary to bring this patent infringement claim.”
Under UK High Court rules, a schedule for the damages phase of the case will now be set. BT said that it has a “good case” on appeal.
“The High Court has found that BT did not infringe one of the remaining patents and that only a minor part of one network infringed the other. Although BT is disappointed with that finding and considers it has a good case on appeal, BT can make minor changes to its programming to avoid the issue entirely. Accordingly, the decision will have no material effect on the operation of BT's networks,” BT said in a statement.
According to research house Point Topic, copper broadband subscriptions have decreased by 7.7 million so far in 2013 and 25 percent of the world’s broadband subscriptions are now fibre connections.
BT’s latest financial results showed that its has over 17 million fibre broadband customers.