ShoreTel Escalates Feud With VoIP Rival

VoIP vendor ShoreTel Tuesday filed a counterclaim against rival Mitel Networks alleging patent infringement and seeking an injunction as well as $10 million in damages.

ShoreTel's suit comes in response to a patent infringement lawsuit filed against it by Mitel at the end of June on the eve of ShoreTel's scheduled initial public offering. In the suit, filed in U.S. District Court, Mitel accused ShoreTel of infringing on four of its patents.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based ShoreTel delayed its IPO several days and lowered its price-per-share by $1 -- roughly 10 percent -- following the filing of Mitel's suit. Shares began trading on July 3 under the symbol "SHOR."

ShoreTel denies Mitel's claims of patent infringement and is now making claims of its own, according to a statement from the company. In its counterclaim, ShoreTel is alleging that Mitel's VoIP systems, including its flagship Mitel 3300 IP Communications Platform, infringe on a ShoreTel U.S. patent entitled "Voice Traffic Through a Firewall."

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ShoreTel has also filed claims for approximately $10 million in damages and is seeking an injunction against Ontario-based Mitel in Ontario Superior Court "for making false or misleading statements about ShoreTel's alleged infringement," according to the statement.

"We are confident in our position, and believe the timing of Mitel's filing was intended to interfere with our later successful IPO," said John Combs, CEO of ShoreTel, in the statement. "ShoreTel will defend its position and pursue its claims against Mitel vigorously."

Mitel did not immediately respond to a request for comment.