Virtual PBX Featured Article

RingCentral Dialpad Beef Shut Down in Court

May 23, 2019

By Laura Stotler - Virtual PBX Contributing Editor

A dispute between two major virtual PBX and cloud unified communications companies has effectively evaporated in court. Longtime VoIP, virtual PBX and UCaaS player RingCentral argued that competitor Dialpad had infringed on its copyrights because of the way it allows messages to be routed over the Internet. Dialpad is also a longtime player in the business VoIP and virtual PBX markets.

Both companies provide a VoIP-based business model through which voice and data messages are routed seamlessly over the Internet, providing individuals and companies with a host of features and benefits. RingCentral had complained that Dialpad copied its “367 patent,” which enables routing of messages through the Internet based on custom routing rules.

However, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed the dispute, claiming RingCentral hadn’t provided proof that its claim was specific to virtual PBX systems. The company had also argued that Dialpad infringed on its 496 patent, which covers a call system featuring a main number that enables calls to be managed and routed according to a set of call rules. While applying call rules is a standard feature of most virtual PBX systems, RingCentral argued that its system offers forwarding to different number based on the time of day that calls are received.

The court also found that this was a standard virtual PBX feature and ruled against infringement. Additional infringement claims, including features that enable users to send and retrieve voice, fax, email and text messages through a single interface, were also shot down. The court did allow RingCentral an opportunity to amend its plea and prove patent eligibility, should the company decide to pursue the matter.

While the court case may signal a win for Dialpad for the moment, it also brings up some of the core issues surrounding business VoIP and virtual PBX systems. All major cloud players in the UC and virtual PBX space provide some type of call routing based on rules, including time, location and user preferences. This find-me/follow-me type of functionality has been embedded in VoIP messaging systems for many years, and is widely considered a standard feature in business PBX solutions.

RingCentral has typically been considered a leader in the UCaaS space, while the younger Dialpad is growing and expanding to become a formidable business VoIP contender. Both companies were recently featured as prominent players in Wise Guy Reports’ Machine Learning in Communications Market, a massive growth area for the VoIP and virtual PBX industries. The companies were named alongside major competitors including Amazon, IBM, Microsoft, Google, Nextiva, Nexmo, Twilio and Cisco.

Edited by Maurice Nagle


Key Benefits

  Unlimited Calling & Faxing
  Number Portability
  Auto Attendant
  Instant Conference Calls
  HD Voice Quality