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Lawsuit Says Google Stole Trade Secrets

By - Source: Reuters | B 12 comments

This lawsuit links back to Google's partnership with eBay and Skype, and a separate deal with VoiceOne.

Monday technology communications company VoIP Inc filed a lawsuit against Google in the New York Supreme Court, accusing the search engine giant of trade secret theft, unfair competition, unjust enrichment and breach of contract. VoIP Inc is seeking an unspecified amount in compensatory and punitive damages, disgorgement of illegal gains, an injunction and attorney's fees.

According to Reuters, the case stems back to VoIP's Los Angeles-based subsidiary VoiceOne Communications Corp and its agreement with Google in September 2005. The former company agreed to provide Google with its patented "Click to Call" technology so that Web surfers could place an online call directly to advertisers or merchants by clicking on links listed on Google websites. The agreement stated that VoiceOne would serve as the designated carrier.

In 2007 Google terminated its contract with VoiceOne, stating that the latter company violated a nondisclosure agreement by revealing Google as one of its clients. However just one year prior to the termination, Google joined forces with eBay and Skype in a joint internet call service venture. The lawsuit alleges that Google exploited VoiceOne's "confidential information" including algorithms, source codes and the means to make a profit from online calling, and applied those VoiceOne trade secrets to its new deal with eBay and Skype.

Currently VoiceOne parent company VoIP Inc is in bankruptcy proceedings. It previously filed a similar lawsuit against Google in Los Angeles Superior Court back in July 2009, but the case was dismissed without prejudice later that year because of jurisdictional issues and VoIP's pending bankruptcy proceedings. Creditors filed an involuntary bankruptcy petition against VoIP in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Florida in 2009.

Google is still facing another lawsuit submitted in June 2010 by Frontier Communications in regards to Google Voice. The latter company has accused Google of patent infringement relating to linking multiple phones lines to a single number. That particular case is still pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware.

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  • 2 Hide
    Thunderfox , February 15, 2011 10:54 PM
    Gee, a bankrupt company suing a prominent profitable one. Where have I heard that before...
  • 1 Hide
    dheadley , February 15, 2011 11:06 PM
    Well, doesn't matter if they are bankrupt or not. If Google did use their proprietary information in their own product after they terminated a contract to develop, produce and provide the same service through this company, then they deserve to be sued and deserve to pay damages. Sounds like if true they did exactly what Microsoft did to that XML company ID4 and they won a whole lot of money from Microsoft.
  • 4 Hide
    digitalvampire , February 15, 2011 11:47 PM
    In America, more money is spent every year on lawyer fees than on R&D. Anybody wonder why we aren't doing so well?
  • 2 Hide
    THEfog101 , February 16, 2011 2:36 AM
    wow, another company suing Google in the hopes of getting some of that financial pie, isn't this unusual..........
  • 2 Hide
    HappyBB , February 16, 2011 4:12 AM
    I understand why these lawsuits exist. However, I am so sick of the tactics.
  • -1 Hide
    erhardm , February 16, 2011 7:13 AM
    It seems that Google has some habits of stealing code and using technologies without a license. I'm not surprised to see this here. Me thinks lately Google is abusing because of his position a lot.
  • 0 Hide
    pinkfloydminnesota , February 16, 2011 11:27 AM
    digitalvampireIn America, more money is spent every year on lawyer fees than on R&D. Anybody wonder why we aren't doing so well?
    We're not doing so well? lol I wonder what do well looks like?
  • 1 Hide
    pabeader , February 16, 2011 1:58 PM
    doing well looks like, where we should be.
  • -1 Hide
    xerroz , February 16, 2011 2:39 PM
    I hope they win and google loses
  • 0 Hide
    mikem_90 , February 16, 2011 5:45 PM
    erhardmIt seems that Google has some habits of stealing code and using technologies without a license. I'm not surprised to see this here. Me thinks lately Google is abusing because of his position a lot.


    Accused, but there are a lot of accusations that are just bullcrap. Google has made a lot of enemies in some of their more philinthropic actions, people who would not mind seeing all the free handy tools dissapear and be replaced by expensive pay services.

    I'll wait to see what Google has to say before judging too much. The last patent they talk about is kind of on the lame side. Just seems the natural thing to do with multiple phone numbers.

    Keep in mind, these days its about litigation, not innovation. You patent a bunch of ideas no matter if you intend to use it or make a product. Half the time you submit a bunch of patents all for the same thing in hope of getting some through. With an overworked patent office, they often will not check them so well. Often prior art is widely available, yet its never checked.
  • 0 Hide
    gogogadgetliver , February 16, 2011 9:32 PM
    pinkfloydminnesotaWe're not doing so well? lol I wonder what do well looks like?


    Gold toilet paper and a 6" miniature pet giraffe.

    BS anyway... we spend tons on R&D
  • 0 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , February 17, 2011 11:15 AM
    ^ much less than the chinese
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