A small New York firm is suing Google for $5 billion, claiming it owns patents for technologies used in Google Talk.

Rates Technology Inc (RTI) holds patents to telecommunications technologies but does not sell products. It claims Google is using technologies it owns but has not licensed.

Google uses the two technologies, which are for minimising the cost of long-distance telephone calls, in the VoIP service.

"Google's wrongful acts have damaged and will continue to damage RTI irreparably, and RTI has no adequate remedy at law for those wrongs and injuries," the company complained.

Another court date

Google has been notified of its patent infringement and given a chance to remedy the situation by licensing technology from RTI, "but has refused to do so," the company said in its court filing. RTI is demanding a trial by jury to settle the suit, according to court papers.

Rich Tehrani, VoIP industry watcher and president of Technology Marketing observes that RTI founder and president Jerry Weinberger invented a least-cost routing technology that allows a phone system to find the cheapest carrier prior to placing a phone call. This technology is part of what enables VoIP calls to work. Other companies, such as Cisco and Lucent Technologies, have already paid RTI to use its patented technology, he said.

Google spokesman Steve Langdon said the search giant believes the lawsuit is "without merit" and plans to fight it.