Google Fights Back And Wins Against Bogus Patent Lawsuit From Guy Who Couldn't Even Code His 'Invention'
from the a-win-in-east-texas! dept
Joe Mullin, in his usual incredibly thorough manner, has a detailed blog post about Google emerging victorious in a patent infringement lawsuit in East Texas, against one of many non-practicing entities to sue Google claiming patent infringement in the last few years (Mullin notes 46 filed since 2007). In this case, a husband and wife team received two patents (7,240,025 and 7,249,059) on putting ads on other websites, and claimed that Google’s AdSense infringed. While there was no assertion whatsoever that Google got the idea from these patents — and everyone seems to recognize that Google came up with, implemented and built up AdSense entirely independently, the holder of the patent thought he deserved 20% of all of Google’s AdSense profits. Oh, and the kicker? He never even finished building the system himself, because the programming was beyond him:
While being questioned by one of his lawyers, Dean told the jury that his limited knowledge of code-writing–derived from a junior college programming class–wasn’t sufficient to allow him to complete the project. Instead, he hired his programming teacher to finish the job. Unfortunately, Dean and Stone ran out of money before the teacher was done. Dean insisted to the jury, though, that he could have finished the project…
And yet he felt he deserves 20% of all of Google’s AdSense revenue? Someone is clearly overvaluing the idea vs. the implementation. Thankfully, though, the jury actually recognized that Google was the victim here. Beyond finding that Google didn’t infringe, the jury also found parts of the two patents to be invalid.
As Mullin notes, Google appears to be one of a rather small number of big tech companies who are willing to stand up to such bogus patent lawsuits, rather than just paying them off to go away. Many other companies realize that it’s cheaper to just pay off the patent holder than to fight it in court, but Google recognizes — correctly — that this just encourages more lawsuits of the same nature, and perpetuates the problem.