VoIP Firm Sues Google

Rates Technology, a Smithtown, N.Y.-based VoIP firm, filed a pair of patent infringement claims against Google, claiming that the search giant's IM and voice chat product, Google Talk, violates patents held by Rates. The claim, filed in October in federal district court in New York, seeks damages, enforcement of the patents, and a preliminary injunction against Google.

The claim is for two patents, both involving "inventions relating to minimizing the cost of placing long-distance telephone calls." Rates Technology is seeking payment for lost royalties and profits, tripled, and with interest.

The injunction, if granted, could throw a wrench into plans to interoperate Google Talk with AOL Instant Messenger--a part of the recently announced Google-AOL pact. Interoperation with AIM gives Google's nascent voice/text chat application access to the largest body of instant messengers--AOL's messaging client is the most popular on the Web, trailed by MSN and Yahoo!'s products, which themselves recently forged an interoperation pact.

A Google spokesman told OnlineMediaDaily: "We believe the lawsuit is without merit and we will defend against it vigorously." The spokesman declined to comment further.

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