TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Patent Firm Sues Google Over VOIP Calling

Patent Firm Sues Google Over VOIP Calling

Reuters News Wire (
Fri, 30 Dec 2005 12:57:32 -0600

Rates Technology Inc., which holds patents for the process by which
most Internet phone calls are made, confirmed on Friday that it is
suing Google Inc. over its Web-based phone calling system.

New York-based RTI said it estimated that damages from the lawsuit
could reach $5 billion, assuming the litigation process takes four
years as the market for Internet-based phone services booms.

"Ordinarily we don't need to sue people to get them covered under our
patents," RTI President Jerry Weinberger told Reuters. "Every once in
a while we run into utter arrogance, as we are seeing with Google."

RTI holds two patents in the telecommunications field and generally
takes a one-time fee of up to $5 million to cover companies who
provide the services or the equipment to support them. It filed the
suit against Google in October.

Weinberger said companies covered under RTI patents include Yahoo Inc.
Microsoft Corp. and Verizon Communications.

RTI is currently holding talks with Time Warner Inc. about its Internet unit
AOL and with online auction site eBay for its Skype voice offering. RTI is
also locked in lawsuits with Cablevision for its cable voice service and
with broadband phone service company Vonage.

Google confirmed it would add instant messaging and Web-based phone
calling, known as Google Talk, to a growing menu of services it has
added to its core Web search functions.

Google officials were not immediately available to comment. Company
shares fell $4.75 to $415.40 in late morning trade.

Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited.

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