Friday, November 21, 2014
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

 
Fairfield on film celebration set Saturday

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Solano high school students bring robotics to Shanghai, China

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Hanukkah Festival added to Holiday in the Park

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1, 1 Comment

 
Holidays present seasonal entertainment

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

Memories of Thanksgiving Days gone by

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

 
Man shot at Suisun City apartment

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3, 7 Comments

 
 
Fairfield police log: Nov. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: Nov. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

Emotions rise as people hear immigration plan

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Obama spurns GOP with expansive immigration orders

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 25 Comments

Congress can’t ‘de-fund’ Obama on immigration

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

 
A look at the numbers in Obama’s immigration plan

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

California sheriff criticizes Obama on immigration

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3, 3 Comments

 
Deal divides billions in closed nuke plant’s costs

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

California tuition hike fight shifts to Sacramento

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
PG&E fined over alleged secret dealings

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Feinstein: Drought relief bill out for this year

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
GOP’s success in House races ends in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Insurance sign-ups outpacing first year enrollment

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Man who killed co-worker, cut out heart released

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 3 Comments

St. Louis region prepares for Ferguson decision

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Union: Ferguson officer does not expect charges

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 2 Comments

NOAA: Globe sets 5th hottest-month record of 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Roofs collapse as New York clobbered by more snow

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Hearing draws apology, admission in air bag mess

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Florida State shooter was well-liked but troubled

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Officials downplay debates over Ebola aid response

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Israeli mayor’s ban on Arab workers ignites uproar

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Protesters, police clash in Mexico before marches

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Egypt acquits doctor in female genital mutilation

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Slain beauty queen, sister buried in Honduras

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Boko Haram said to kill about 45 people in Nigeria

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

.

Opinion

Why are we still changing clock times?

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 17 Comments

 
Editorial Cartoons: Nov. 21, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A11

 
Thank you to businesses that support veterans

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

 
 
Thank you for saving my purse

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

.

Living

Today in History: Nov. 21, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Nov. 21, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

I have several part-time jobs and have no time or money for a personal life

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

 
Horoscopes: Nov. 21, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Week in preview Nov. 21-27, 2014

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Mike Nichols, crafter of films, plays, dies at 83

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Hollywood pays tribute to Mike Nichols

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Five memorable movies from Mike Nichols

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Highlights from Mike Nichols’ multi-genre career

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Handler apologizes for watermelon joke at awards

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

O’Keeffe painting sells for record $44.4M in NYC

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
TV Land pulls ‘Cosby Show’ from lineup

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3, 1 Comment

Mysterious sculpture recovered from River Seine

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Review: Revolution gathering in ‘Mockingjay

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Entertainment calendar Nov. 21, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

 
How a ‘tiny hamster’ video gets made

By The Washington Post | From Page: B5

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
James Nesbitt as a father whose child disappears

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

.

Sports

Bulldogs, Wildcats into SJS quarterfinals

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B7

 
Raiders snap 16-game skid with 24-20 win vs. KC

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Giants confident they’re in Pablo Sandoval chase

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Intense Boldin keeps making big catches for 49ers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Hendrick gives Kahne 3-year contract extension

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

NASCAR: Johnson says Harvick was correct winner

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Jared Goff growing into role of Cal’s ‘Golden Boy’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

JC volleyball: Falcons have 4 players earn all-BVC honors

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B8

 
Manfred given 5-year term as baseball commissioner

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Bills’ home game against Jets relocated to Detroit

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
AP source: Bermuda to host 2017 America’s Cup

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

FIFA to review World Cup corruption report

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Union appeals Adrian Peterson’s suspension

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Lewis in range of big prize at Tour Championship

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
This week in sports history for Friday, Nov. 21, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Prep football capsules: Week 12

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B10

Cousins, Gay lead Kings past Bulls, 103-88

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Bjugstad leads Panthers to 3-2 SO win over Sharks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

.

Business

LaCrosse rides Buick’s high reliability rating

By Ann M. Job | From Page: C1

 
Ford gets the aluminum F-150 ready for prime time

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

Polls: Employers still prioritize health coverage

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
New Mexico lawmakers grill spaceport boss

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Family gets $6.75 million in Botox treatment case

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Gap names heads of namesake brand, Banana Republic

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

AT&T pays $23.8 M to settle hazardous-waste case

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Soaring generic drug prices draw Senate scrutiny

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

US home sales rise in October

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
US unemployment aid applications fall to 291,000

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Country of origin label for meat cuts endangered

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9