BrightEdge Uses SEO Patents As “Sword,” Sues Searchmetrics

patents-600 Oh no they didn't: BrightEdge has sued rival Searchmetrics using multiple SEO patents, which were granted last year. The concern being expressed by some today is that this could be the beginning of a wave of litigation as BrightEdge seeks to capitalize on its newly granted IP or goes after competitors that it perceives to be infringing. The patents in question broadly pertain to various automated SEO software tools: 8,577,863: “Correlating web page visits and conversions with external references” Granted 11/5/2013 8,478,700: “Opportunity identification and forecasting for search [...]


German Design Firm Claims Willful Patent Infringement Over Google Earth

Google Earth A German design firm is claiming that Google and Google Earth have infringed its patent (USRE44550 E1) and is seeking triple damages under the notion that the infringement was intentional or willful. The firm, ART+COM ("ACI"), makes the following claims: The development history of Google Earth indicates knowledge and infringement by key Google employees Google Earth "bears remarkable similarities to ART+COM's commercial system, which was developed nearly a decade prior to Google's introduction of Google Earth" The claimed patent and method for rendering geographical objects (Terravis [...]


Google May Be Forced To Pay $1 Billion To Patent Troll

google-legal-cash-featured A New York-based "patent troll" called Vringo, through its subsidiary I/P engine, successfully sued Google, Microsoft, AOL and others using two patents related to search advertising. The plaintiff won approximately $30 million at trial in 2012. Google was asked to pay $15.8 million of that amount. Yet plaintiffs were also seeking ongoing royalties, which the court has now awarded. Google was contesting the royalty and the company will likely now appeal the calculation, which is potentially massive. The math is confusing. However, as Ars Technia reports, the royalty amounts to ju [...]


Google, Android Makers Sued By Apple “Rockstar” Consortium Over Search, AdWords

Google legal Roughly two years ago Google and a consortium of companies competitively bid for the vast patent portfolio of bankrupt Canadian Company Nortel Networks. Google initiated the bidding with $900 million but ultimately was outbid by the Rockstar consortium, consisting of Microsoft, Apple, Blackberry, Ericsson and Sony. Google's final bid was $4.4 billion. Rockstar won the patents for $4.5 billion. Now Google has been sued by Rockstar and two subsidiaries over several of the patents in the former Nortel portfolio: US Patents 6,098,065; 7,236,969; 7,469,245; 7,672,970; 7,895,178; 7,895,183; a [...]


Google Maps Might Be Banned In Germany Over Patent Infringement

Google Maps icon Google Maps may be banned in Germany as the result of a patent infringement lawsuit underway at a regional court in Germany. As FOSS Patents reports, Judge Matthias Zigann told Google today that he's inclined to hold the company liable for infringing a Microsoft patent that describes a "computer system for identifying local resources and method therefor." The judge reportedly called the patent, which describes how map data and local search results can be combined, a "big idea." Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents explains the possible ramifications if the judge sides with Microsoft, as expec [...]


Microsoft Sued By Company That Won Patent Lawsuit Against Google In 2012

bing-legal-law-featured [caption id="attachment_65488" align="alignright" width="240"] Image courtesy Shutterstock.com[/caption] New York-based Vringo has sued Microsoft over two patents that pertain to the ranking and placement of ads in search results. The patents were originally issued in the early '90s and owned for a long time by Lycos, which later sold them. The patents in question are 6,314,420 and 6,775,664, referred to in the complaint (below) as the "420" and "664" patents. They wound up at Vringo, a company that sells video ringtones for mobile phones. The company's real business however is pat [...]


FTC Playing Antitrust Poker With Google And Looking For A Way To Save Face

Google & FTC Last week there was a report that "four out of five FTC commissioners" favored going forward with an antitrust case against Google. The Reuters article in which the claim appeared mentions but doesn't emphasize the litany of "vertical search" complaints against Google raised by competitors. Those "Google favors its own results" claims have been at the center of the European antitrust inquiry and, perhaps until now, at the heart of any potential US case against Google. Yet the article seems to suggest that the FTC is looking elsewhere for Google liability  -- or vulnerability. Reuters wr [...]


Google’s Patent Screed Emerges As PR Blunder

Screen shot 2011-08-04 at 10.38.14 AM Google's mostly ill-conceived patent screed from yesterday has opened the floodgates of discussion about Google's (Android's) vulnerability to third party patents owned by Microsoft, Oracle and Apple. Among the throng of comments and opinions about the episode are a few Google sympathizers, such as Forbes blogger Tim Lee who believes Google should advocate for the elimination of software patents: Unfortunately, the modest procedural changes being considered in the America Invents Act won’t come close to preventing the kind of abusive litigation that’s now plaguing Android. So Google sho [...]


Google Lashes Out Against Apple, Microsoft Patent “Conspiracy”

google-g-logo Google's Chief Legal Officer David Drummond has lashed out at rivals Apple, Microsoft, Oracle and unnamed others for waging what he says is "a hostile, organized campaign against Android," using "bogus patents." Drummond asserts that Google's rivals have joined together in an "anti-competitive" cabal of sorts that uses patent law almost as a pretext to attempt to "strangle" Android. (The phrase "anti-competitive" is self-consciously used four times in his post.) Drummond contends that Google's rivals are threatened by or unable to compete with Android's momentum (citing Android's 550,00 [...]


Legal Woes Mount For Google: “Locationgate,” Skyhook Suit And FTC-Search Probe

Following the revelation last week that the iPhone stored user location data a consumer class action was filed. This kind of disclosure/revelation-class action cycle is now familiar. And because Google also collects location data it is now also the subject of a similar class action (Brown et al v. Google) seeking $50 million in damages. Google says it captures user location data only on an opt-in, consensual basis. Where Are the Damages? As a former lawyer who did a fair amount of plaintiff-side litigation in my past I'm sympathetic to the consumer class action and believe that it has bee [...]


Priceline.com Founder Sues Google Over Offers Service

google-offers-square Although Google Offers hasn't formally launched yet, the service is already facing its first lawsuit. Walker Digital, a private R&D lab that created and launched Priceline.com in the late 1990s, is suing Google for allegedly violating four of the company's patents. The lawsuit, which asks the court for a jury trial, seeks unspecified damages and a permanent injunction. Google Offers began taking sign-ups yesterday in three U.S. locales and technically hasn't even launched yet. The Walker Digital lawsuit was filed in a US District Court last night. Earlier this month, the company file [...]


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 e [...]


Google Bids Nearly $1 Billion For Nortel Patent Portfolio

idea-lightbulb-faces-featured Google has bid $900 million (according to the Wall Street Journal) for an extensive patent portfolio owned by the now-bankrupt Canadian company Nortel Networks. The move is primarily defensive, as Google explains in a blog post: The tech world has recently seen an explosion in patent litigation, often involving low-quality software patents, which threatens to stifle innovation. Some of these lawsuits have been filed by people or companies that have never actually created anything; others are motivated by a desire to block competing products or profit from the success of a rival’s new [...]


Facebook Patents Social Search (Courtsey Of Friendster)

Has Facebook patented social search? It appears so, according to a patent awarded earlier this year by the USPTO. The patent, written the same year Facebook was founded, has been previously discussed but escaped our notice until now. Originally filed in October 2004 and awarded this past February, the patent is for a system that uses social connections and clicks within the network to determine search-ranking relevance.  A piece in BNet calls the Facebook patent "curated search." However we might as well call it a patent on "social search." (See update below.) Here's what the abstract s [...]


Google, Microsoft Cooperate To Invalidate Broad Online Mapping Patent

It's reasonable to say that the world of technology patents is screwed up and headed for some major reform. One area in which this is very apparent is location/mapping/geo. There are a number of seemingly conflicting or contradictory local and local-mobile patents that have been issued over the past several years. Some of these patents were issued to small companies and some are owned or were acquired by giants like Google and Microsoft. Now Redmond and Mountain View have joined forces to fight a common foe: a small company in Texas that holds a potentially sweeping mapping patent. T [...]


Paul Allen Refiles Patent Suit Against Google, Facebook, Yahoo & Others

As expected, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has re-filed his patent infringement lawsuit against some of the biggest companies on the web. The suit alleges that 11 companies have infringed on technology developed in the 1990s by Interval Licensing (AKA Interval Research Corporation), one of Allen's companies. The 11 companies named in the suit are Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Apple, AOL, eBay, YouTube, NetFlix, Office Depot, OfficeMax, and Staples. Allen first filed the lawsuit in late August, but it was dismissed earlier this month as being too vague. The district court judge gave Allen until [...]


Judge Grants Google’s & AOL’s Motion To Dismiss Paul Allen Lawsuit

A district court judge in Seattle has granted motions filed by Google and AOL to dismiss a Paul Allen patent infringement lawsuit against those two companies (and others). Judge Marsha Pechman agreed with both Google and AOL, who said that Allen's lawsuit was too vague. Allen's patent infringement complaint "failed to identify the infringing products or devices with any specificity," Pechman wrote in her ruling. You can read the full decision on Groklaw. Allen has until December 28th to refile the case. He first filed the lawsuit in late August, accusing 11 companies -- including Goo [...]


“Free Isn’t Free”: Microsoft Trying To Make Android More Costly With Patent Suit

News broke yesterday that Microsoft was suing Motorola for Android-related patent infringements. Microsoft said in a blog post that its patents cover a range of software functions used by Android devices (presumably this would apply to the iPhone as well): The Microsoft innovations at issue in this case help make smartphones "smart."  Indeed, our patents relate to key features that users have come to expect from every smartphone.  The ability to send and receive email on-the-go has driven smartphone adoption . . . Of course, for certain apps to run efficiently on handheld devices, th [...]


Skyhook Wireless Sues Google: You Lie About Android “Openness”

In a lawsuit that will be closely watched Boston's Skyhook Wireless has sued Google for patent infringement and interfering in its business relationship with Motorola. Skyhook's principal business is providing location to third parties through the use of cell tower and WiFi location databases often referred to as "triangulation." Skyhook's system and technology is widely used by handset manufacturers, mobile application developers and others. Skyhook owns quite a few patents surrounding location determination and its infringement claims assert that Google has violated three of Skyhook's pat [...]


Paul Allen Sues Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Others Over Patents

Paul Allen, the Microsoft co-founder and one of the richest men on earth, has filed a patent infringement suit today against several Internet titans, the Wall Street Journal reports. The lawsuit centers on technology developed a decade ago by Interval Research Corp., a technology lab that Allen owned between 1992 and 2000. Eleven companies are named in the lawsuit: Google, Yahoo, Facebook, AOL, eBay, YouTube, NetFlix, Office Depot, OfficeMax, and Staples. The lawsuit claims four patent violations of technologies that are widely used by search engines and e-commerce sites, according to the [...]


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