Google is back in the courts, this time being sued over Google Talk, its free internet telephony system. Rates Technology Inc (RTI) has brought a case against Google in New York, claiming that two of its patents have been infringed by Google. Both relate to technology designed to minimising the cost of calls over the internet. RTI has demanded damages and court costs.

Google’s recent deal to buy a 5 per cent stake in AOL for $1 billion could help it sidestep the litigation. Under the terms of the AOL deal, Google Talk users will be able to talk to users of AOL’s TotalTalk system. Analysts noted that Google may also be able to licence AOL’s VoIP (voice over internet protocol) technology.