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Google Talk accused of patent infringement

Search giant faces lawsuit

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Google Talk, the internet telephony service currently being tested by Google, has become the subject of a new lawsuit alleging that the technology infringes two patents owned by holding company Rates Technology.

Google Talk represents the search giant’s entry into the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) sector – basically the transport of telephone calls over an internet connection. The system, which allows users to call, email or send instant messages to other users of the service, was made available for beta testing in August.

A lawsuit filed with the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York seeks damages and an injunction against Google’s use of technology relating to "a method for minimising the cost of placing long-distance phone calls".

The patents asserted, US Patent Numbers 5,425,085 and 5,519,769, date back to 1991 and 1995.

According to reports, Rates Technology has already licensed the technology to about 700 companies, including Microsoft, Verizon and IBM. The firm has also reportedly taken legal action against firms such as Cablevision and Alcatel for alleged infringement.

Google has denied any breach. "We believe the lawsuit is without merit and we will defend against it vigorously,” said a Google spokesman.

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