by Mike Masnick
Thu, Dec 27th 2007 8:46am
As a large, ultra-successful tech company, it comes as no surprise that Google is a regular target for patent holders in infringement lawsuits. In the last couple of years, the company has faced new patent lawsuits at a rate of more than one new lawsuit every two months (and that pace is accelerating, as Google was hit with six infringement lawsuits in just the last three months) -- with the vast majority of those coming from companies that don't actually make any products, but just hold patents. It's a total waste of Google's resources to have to send lawyers to court to defend these suits, but thankfully, Google's principled stand against bogus lawsuits means that it generally tries to fight these types of suits, rather than settling them in hopes that they'll go away. In one such suit, Google was able to get the district court in Wisconsin to toss out the lawsuit, but it appears that the Appeals court has sent part of the case back to the lower court, suggesting that it shouldn't have been thrown out on summary judgment. Luckily, much of the original summary judgment was upheld -- including the part that claimed Google's AdSense infringed. However, Google will now need to spend more legal resources in court to respond to the charge that its Autolink feature does infringe. Once again, a demonstration of the patent system wasting resources for no good reason.
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