Changing Statutes with Changing Technology

1 minute read

Technology keeps changing, but statutes often don’t. RingCentral learned that the hard way when it was sued in California in a class action based on decades-old statute alleging that RingCentral’s voice-over-IP telephony service violated a wiretapping statute from which all of its legacy competition enjoyed an exemption.

While public policy was on RingCentral’s side, the statute tied the court’s hands. So, in the course of a single legislative session, Orrick designed, built, and executed a program of engagement designed to update the long outdated statute to recognize that the exception that applied to traditional telephony service providers covered internet-based telephone services.

The plan worked and the bill became law. In doing so, RingCentral cut off go-forward liability, and now has a strong argument that the changes—which were intentionally structured to try and “clarify” existing law by bringing VoIP providers under the exception—apply to the existing litigation. The move has already saved RingCentral from future lawsuits, but may save it from the one that started it all.