Tuesday, April 28, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Google wins $1 victory against patent owner harassing customers

By
January 28, 2014 |

WASHINGTON — A $1 victory for Google could mean a whole lot more in savings for some of its customers.

A federal jury in Marshall, Texas, said Jan. 23 that patent-licensing company Beneficial Innovations breached a settlement agreement with Google by suing its customers. The jury awarded nominal damages of $1, which was all Google sought because its main goal was to make clear that its customers were covered by the license.

The case illustrates how technology companies are fighting patent-licensing firms that sue their customers. Companies such as Google and Adobe are increasingly challenging patents in courts and before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and are asking Congress to pass legislation to discourage lawsuits against the users of technology.

“We have the resources, we understand the technology, we know how our product is supposed to be used, and we’re in the best position to defend our customers,” said Dana Rao, associate general counsel at Adobe, which has sued patent- licensing companies on behalf of its customers.

Closely held Beneficial, incorporated in Nevada, filed patent-infringement suits against Google in 2007 and 2009, and the two sides reached an agreement in which Google paid for a license to the patents. That 2010 accord also covered customers using Google’s DoubleClick advertising product including Autotrader.com and Demand Media, Mountain View-based Google said.

“Beneficial went back on the terms of its own license agreement, pursuing our customers for simply using our licensed services,” Matt Kallman, a Google spokesman, said in a statement. “This is a great outcome that the jury worked hard to get right.”

The patents relate to playing games on a network and a networking system for advertising. Beneficial argued that the customers were only licensed under certain circumstances, which didn’t apply in this case, according to court records. Beneficial lawyer Elizabeth DeRieux of Capshaw DeRieux in Gladewater, Texas, didn’t provide a comment.

The tactic by technology companies of claiming customers are covered by a patent license has its limits. Apple sought to invalidate patents asserted against developers of applications for its iPhone and iPad tablet computer. The patent owner, Lodsys LLC, settled with all of Apple’s customers, thus pushing Apple out of the case, and then proceeded against other developers.

Federal law says suits can be filed against anyone who makes, uses, sells or offers to sell a product that infringes a U.S. patent. Sometimes the product manufacturer can’t be identified, isn’t subject to the jurisdiction of U.S. courts because it only operates overseas, or the product is modified by the customer.

In those instances, users or sellers have to be sued, said Robert Stoll of Drinker Biddle in Washington, who formerly ran patent operations at the patent office.

It’s only been since 2011 or so that firms who buy up patents to seek royalties, known by the pejorative “troll,” have been going after the users of products made by well-known companies like Google and Adobe, Rao said.

The technology companies can be made to cover any lawsuit costs incurred by their customers, so resolving a single suit avoids multiple payouts. It also just makes good business sense.

“People want to make sure they’ve got their reputation maintained with their user community,” Stoll said. “I wouldn’t be buying their products if they didn’t step in to protect me.”

If a company proves its product doesn’t infringe a patent, then all of its customers are off the hook. Should the company invalidate the patent, then anyone sued by the patent owner would be in the clear. Adobe has several trials scheduled for this year, Rao said.

“We’ll use all of the tactics to try to take down the patent trolls,” Rao said. “The problem is that, while we’re able to step in and defend our customers in many district courts, the pace of these litigations is just growing.”

Congress is considering legislation that would put suits against end users on hold until litigation is resolved between the manufacturer and patent owner.

In the meantime, more suits like those filed by Google and Adobe, could be in the offing.

“It makes good company sense,” Stoll said.

Bloomberg News

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Explore habitat of bats at special Solano-Yolo event

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Train hits car, kills 1

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: , 7 Comments | Gallery

 
Dollar Tree settles illegal dumping case

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Man walks to bring awareness to need for divorce reform

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
‘The Mask You Live In’ set for Vacaville premiere

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Woman reported missing in Fairfield

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: | Gallery

Caltrans reminds motorists of Highway 12 bridge work

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

 
Thor, Iron Man, Captain America return to movie screens

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7 | Gallery

Chambers plans Cinco de Mayo celebration

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

 
Rio Vista to celebrate endive once again

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A7

Full slate of events on tap in downtown Vacaville

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7

 
Fairfield police log: April 26, 2015

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

Fairfield police log: April 25, 2015

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: April 24, 2015

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: April 26, 2015

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: April 25, 2015

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: April 24, 2015

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

 
Loretta Lynch sworn in as new US attorney general

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 2 Comments

GOP defense budget challenges Obama on Ukraine, Guantanamo

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Senate expands community colleges’ reach on sexual assault

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Tuna company, 2 employees charged in death of worker in oven

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Woman convicted of murder after young daughter disappeared

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Ex-Guantanamo detainees in Uruguay protest at US Embassy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Cash handoffs, extortion fuel Mediterranean trafficking

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
High court rejects appeal from protester at military base

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Study blames global warming for 75 percent of very hot days

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Nepal quake death toll tops 4,000; villages plead for aid

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 2 Comments | Gallery

Corinthian Colleges closes all 28 remaining campuses

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
California teen confesses to fatally stabbing 9-year-old boy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

New Ellis Island center to complete US immigration story

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
US, Japan boost defense ties with eyes on China, NKorea

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Coast Guard suspends search for 4 missing off Alabama coast

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Tiny California tribe turns to adoption to boost revenue

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Yemen’s exiled government declares 3 disaster zones

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Prosecutor: 2 exams found James Holmes to be sane

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 1 Comment

 
Judge won’t delay order on inmate sex reassignment surgery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 6 Comments | Gallery

 
.

Opinion

Time for multiple-county tourism, arts, downtown project

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

 
What’s Marco Rubio’s secret?

By Jennifer Rubin | From Page: A11, 8 Comments

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: April 28, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
.

Entertainment

Jayne Meadows, actress and TV personality, dies at 95

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Winehouse family criticizes ‘misleading’ movie about singer

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Singer Jamie Barton wins the ‘Heisman Trophy’ of music

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Rushdie chastises authors protesting Hebdo tribute

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
It’s nail-biting time on Broadway ahead of Tony nominations

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

‘Black-ish’ creator set to write ‘Good Times’ movie

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Don Mankiewicz, Oscar-nominated screenwriter, dies at 93

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Salma Hayek hopes ‘The Prophet’ inspires new generations

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
TVGrid April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

.

Sports

 
Dodgers pitcher McCarthy out for season with elbow injury

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Sharks near agreement to extend lease in San Jose

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Raiders head into draft in need of receiver, pass rusher

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Pacquiao, Roach scheme on plan for Mayweather’s defense

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
A new format, more golf for all at Match Play

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Orioles’ game in Baltimore postponed due to safety concerns

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Warriors trying to stay sharp while waiting for 2nd round

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Kerr wins Rudy Tomjanovich Award from Pro Basketball Writers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Cards ace Adam Wainwright out for season with torn Achilles

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Owner Ahmed Zayat takes aim at Kentucky Derby with 3 horses

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Equestrian aims for more nations competing at Olympics

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Cavaliers move on without Love, out with dislocated shoulder

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Redskins to pick up 5th-year option on Robert Griffin III

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Rare Honus Wagner baseball card sells for $1.32 million

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Arrest warrant sought for UFC champ in hit-and-run crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Hamilton given back to Texas after troubled Angels stint

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
89-year-old former Kansas player scores in alumni scrimmage

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Arena talks underway in Seattle suburb with eye on hockey

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Vegas sets up ‘concentric’ security for upcoming megafight

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Packers will retire Favre’s jersey on Thanksgiving

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Grizzlies G Mike Conley has facial surgery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Peterson absent but still wanted back by Vikings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
.

Business

Ex-executive gets prison for $27M insider trading scheme

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
High court to consider lawsuits over personal data

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4, 1 Comment

Discover discovers Apple Pay for its US cardholders

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
With economy uncertain, no Fed rate hike is seen before fall

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Change to Greek bailout negotiating team fuels market hopes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Burger King heats it up with spicy Whopper and sales surge

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Forget the watch: Apple’s iPhones are still the main event

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Truckers at huge seaport complex strike; impact minimal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

ESPN suing Verizon over unbundling of its sports channel

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Garfield April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
For Better or Worse April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Bridge April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Baby Blues April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Pickles April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Get Fuzzy April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Dilbert April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baldo April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

B.C. April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Blondie April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Cryptoquote April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Word Sleuth April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Frank and Ernest April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Wizard of Id April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Crossword April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Peanuts April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Beetle Bailey April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Sally Forth April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Zits April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Sudoku April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Rose is Rose April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4