SOURCE: Continuant

Continuant

July 07, 2014 09:54 ET

Federal Court Grants Injunctive Relief to Continuant

Avaya Must Allow PBX System Owners to Access Maintenance Commands and Work With Independent Service Providers, Court Rules

CAMDEN, NJ--(Marketwired - July 07, 2014) - After being found in violation of federal antitrust laws by a federal jury on March 27 of this year, telecommunications company Avaya has been ordered to allow owners of Avaya-brand PBX systems that were purchased between January 1, 1990 and April 30, 2008 to access On Demand Maintenance Commands on those systems. This opens up options for the owners to either maintain those systems themselves or hire an independent service provider (ISP) such as Continuant (www.continuant.com).

This latest ruling, issued on June 30, 2014, by New Jersey Federal District Court is a vindication of the position that Continuant (and its predecessor company, TLI) has taken all along, said Bruce Shelby, Continuant Co-founder and Chief Sales Officer: That Avaya PBX system owners do have and always had the right to access and maintain their own systems or work with an Independent Service Provider such as Continuant.

"For 18 years, Avaya has been charging many of its own customers -- inappropriately -- for access to On Demand Maintenance Commands (ODMCs)," Shelby said. "This scheme not only ultimately cost businesses millions of dollars, but also served to thwart competition from ISPs such as Continuant," he added.

"Many prospective customers have told us over the past decade that, even if they wanted to purchase maintenance and support for their Avaya systems from us, they couldn't take the risk because of Avaya's position that these system owners would not have access to the ODMCs on their own systems," Shelby said.

Avaya has six months from the injunction's date of issue to comply with this ruling.

Continuant filed a motion seeking injunctive relief shortly after a federal jury found that Avaya violated U.S. antitrust laws by attempting to monopolize the aftermarket for post-warranty maintenance of Avaya PBXs, and also by illegally tying the availability of patches for Avaya PDS systems to the purchase of Avaya-brand post warranty maintenance.

The eight-year legal battle started in 2006 when Avaya filed a lawsuit against Continuant, an ISP for voice and data systems, alleging among other things that Continuant violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by accessing the ODMCs on Avaya-brand PBX systems. Later that same year, Continuant filed an antitrust counterclaim. On January 7, 2014, about halfway into the jury trial, the Court dealt a fatal blow to Avaya's original case against Continuant, dismissing all of Avaya's claims against Continuant that hadn't been dismissed prior to trial, leaving Avaya the only remaining defendant in the case.

The paragraph that enjoins Avaya from restricting access to ODMCs reads as follows:

"Avaya Inc. ("Avaya") shall grant, free of charge, all customers who purchased an Avaya-brand PBX between January 1, 1990 and April 30, 2008, access to all ODMCs [On Demand Maintenance Commands] that were installed on the purchased system at the time of the transaction. The grant only extends to the purchasers' right to access ODMCs on those systems purchased during that time, and does not extend to access on a system purchased after April 30, 2008. The grant encompasses the purchasers' right to allow an agent, such as an independent service provider, to access such ODMCs. Avaya shall enable such access within six months of the date of this injunction's issuance."

About Continuant:

Continuant is an independent provider of managed services for voice and data communications systems, with an unsurpassed record of extraordinary customer service. Headquartered in Washington state, Continuant serves national and international enterprise customers.

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