Lawsuit Says Google Stole Trade Secrets

Contributing Writer

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.