A bunch of folks have been passing on variations of the story that Google has lost the patent infringement lawsuit
filed against it by Bedrock Computer Technologies, concerning patent 5,893,120
. The jury has ordered Google to pay $5 million for that infringement. $5 million is pocket change to Google, but hopefully it'll continue to fight. There are some interesting points concerning this case. We had mentioned it in the past, mainly to note the "oddity"
of Bedrock suing two tiny Texas companies (one of which was apparently defunct) along with Google, MySpace, Paypal, Yahoo, Amazon, Match.com and AOL. We assumed that this was a really sleazy trick to keep the case in East Texas, which is the favorite spot for patent trolls to file lawsuits. There's also the fact that the owner of Bedrock is David Garrod, a patent lawyer who has also worked with PubPat
, the group that seeks to stop some of the more extreme abuses of patent law.
Of course, that's all sideshow information. The real fear here is that Bedrock might now be in a position to claim that many Linux users all around the world (especially on the server side) are infringing on the same patent
, which might create some pretty serious headaches. Considering how many businesses use Linux servers, this seems like a patent that can be used extensively against all sorts of companies, whose work has absolutely nothing to do with this patent. It could create a new tax for any business using Linux.