updated 01:25 pm EST, Tue February 15, 2011
Former VoIP partner seeking damages
Technology company VoIP Inc filed a lawsuit against Google in New York Supreme Court on Monday that claims the Internet giant had unjustly broken its contract and stolen proprietary Internet calling technology. The lawsuit alleges breach of contract, trade secret theft, and unjust enrichment. VoIP is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, disgorgement of illegal gains, an injunction and attorney's fees.
According to the complaint, in 2005 Google contracted with a subsidiary of VoIP Inc, VoiceOne Communications Corp, for VoIP's patented Click to Call technology. Click to Call allows Internet users to place a free call to advertisers by clicking on a web link, increasing the value of online advertising. VoiceOne was to be the designated carrier of phone calls from Google websites.
In 2006, Google entered a joint venture with eBay and Skype related to Internet calling. Google terminated the contract with VoiceOne in 2007, alleging that VoiceOne had violated a nondisclosure agreement by revealing that Google was its client. VoiceOne claims that justification was merely a pretext, and that Google used information and technical expertise obtained at the expense of VoiceOne in its project with eBay and Skype.
According to plaintiffs' lawyer Brian Kabatek, a similar case against Google was dismissed without prejudice last year due on jurisdictional grounds and issues related to VoIP's pending bankruptcy. The current case is VoIP Inc et al v. Google Inc, New York Supreme Court, No. 650380/2011.