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Wednesday, 25 January 2006

RTI - Google VoIP Suit

Google has been sued by RTI over patent infringement in its VoIP software. The program in question is Google Talk, which enables users to talk via Internet. The infringement comes about when the VoIP call can be transferred to a normal telephone line.

RTI's president, Jerry Weinberger, put it more succinctly in a conversation with CNET reporter Elinor Mills late last month: "When a VoIP call can be transferred to the regular PSTN (telephone network), the switching of that call infringes our patents."
Source: ZDNET

A patent infringement occurs when technology used in another application, is similar. The argument that the technological step was achieved through independent research will not stand. Patent law is diametrically different from copyright law, which allows for similarity if the similarity is purely serendipituous and was caused by independent effort - in other words, no copying.

RTI's suit seems to have scared the giants of the VoIP industry into signing deals with it, including Skype.

Google isn't the only company that RTI is pursuing. Weinberger said his company has already received one-time technology usage fees from heavyweights including Yahoo, Microsoft and Cisco Systems, has sued Vonage and Comcast, and is in discussions with Skype and America Online.
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