Google Loses Patent Case Over Linux Servers

The FOSS Patents blog reported that Google lost an important patent case on their Linux server kernels they have been using throughout the company.

Bedrock Computer Technologies was awarded $5 million for Google infringing on their patent (U.S. Patent No. 5,893,120) named “Methods and apparatus for information storage and retrieval using a hashing technique with external chaining and on-the-fly removal of expired data.”

So besides for Google having to pay the $5 million, which is not much to Google, they may have to modify the current kernels of Linux used on their servers and maybe even the Android mobile operating system.

The decision was made by the court on April 15, 2011 and was published electronically yesterday. Below is an embed of the decision.

Google told The Register:

Google will continue to defend against attacks like this one on the open source community. The recent explosion in patent litigation is turning the world’s information highway into a toll road, forcing companies to spend millions and millions of dollars defending old, questionable patent claims, and wasting resources that would be much better spent investing in new technologies for users and creating jobs.

Bedrock Computer Technologies didn’t only sue Google in 2009, they sued Softlayer Technologies, CitiWare Technology Solutions, Yahoo, MySpace,, PayPal,, AOL and the CME Group. But Google’s suit was the first to go to trial.

According to the court, Google infringed two different points within the patent. First being information storage and retrieval system comprising of:

  • a linked list to store and provide access to records stored in a memory of the system, at least some of the records automatically expiring
  • a record search means utilizing a search key to access the linked list
  • the record search means including a means for identifying and removing at least some of the expired ones of the records from the linked list when the linked list is accessed
  • a means – utilizing the record search means – for accessing the linked list and, at the same time, removing at least some of the expired ones of the records in the linked list

The second was “information storage and retrieval system according to claim 1 further including means for dynamically determining maximum number for the record search means to remove in the accessed linked list of records,” according to the FOSS blog.

Here is the verdict:

11-04-15 Verdict Form Bedrock v. Google

Related Stories:

Related Topics: Channel: Industry | Google: Business Issues | Google: Legal | Google: Patents | Legal: Patents


About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

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